15 August 2016
In light of fading TPP prospects, Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo is now setting his sights on other trade deals.
He has changed his rhetoric on the TPP, telling the AFR, "We don't put all our eggs in one basket. The TPP isn't the be-all and end-all of free trade.”
Indonesia and TiSA now top priorities
11 August 2016
Donald Trump, like Pauline Hanson in Australia, combines anti-immigration rhetoric with disillusionment with previous trade deals which have not delivered on exaggerated promises of jobs and growth. But it is too easy to dismiss all Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement critics as protectionist or anti-trade, writes Dr Patricia Ranald for Fairfax media today. Read the full article here.
New Labor trade spokesperson Jason Clare MP now has a powerful role in deciding Labor's position on the TPP and ultimately whether the deal is ever ratified in Australia.
Will you write to him and let him know you're concerned that the TPP is bad for democracy, health, workers and the environment?
9 August 2016
The TPP remains a massive election issue in the United States, and news reports continue to cast serious doubt on whether the TPP will even go to a vote in the US Congress this year.
8 August 2016
Papua New Guinea's Trade Minister Richard Maru has told new Australian Assistant Minister for Trade Keith Pitt that PNG would not participate in the PACER-Plus deal, according to ABC news reports.
"I know the Australian Government has been actively pushing the PACER-Plus policy within the region,” Mr Maru said. “I've made it clear that PNG is not interested and that I have directed all my officers not to entertain any negotiations."
August 5, 2016: The discovery of deadly asbestos from imported materials used in a new Perth hospital has sparked a debate about inspection of increased numbers of imports resulting from the China FTA, already in force, and the proposed Indian FTA.
But rather than cracking down on dangerous imports of asbestos products immigration Minister Peter Dutton has launched an extraordinary attack on the construction union,, blaming the union for "driving Australian companies to ‘cut corners’ by importing cheap Chinese materials that may contain deadly asbestos,” according to a report in The Australian.
4 August 2016
An unprecedented alliance of 95 civil society organisations from the Asia-Pacific today urged trade ministers not to include investor rights to sue governments in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, currently being negotiated in Laos.
AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said “ISDS has been a major driver of community opposition to the TPP between the US, Australia and 10 Pacific rim countries, and will generate the same strong opposition to the RCEP."
August 2, 2016
UNSW economist Dr Tim Harcourt, former chief economist of the Australian Trade Commission, told The New Daily that, in some ways, the TPP is an example of free trade "going too far".
He gave the example of its protections for cross-border investment and the right for multi-national companies to sue governments in courts of arbitration if they enacted legislation that hurts their commercial interests - such as Australia's plain packaged tobacco.