Latest News

Jason Clare appointed new Shadow Trade Minister

25 July 2016
Jason Clare MP has been named Shadow Minister for Trade & Investment. He will take over the trade portfolio from Senator Penny Wong, who has moved to Foreign Affairs.
Send Mr Clare a tweet welcoming him to his new position and highlighting your concerns about the TPP and the six other trade deals currently being negotiated by the Coalition Government. Here's an example:
Congrats , Labor's new spokesperson. I'm concerned the is bad for & :

Rally at OceanaGold Melbourne office: Fri 29 July

 Many AFTINET supporters will know that Australian mining company OceanaGold is using ISDS provisions in a trade agreement to sue El Salvador for over $300 million because it will not issue a mining permit in an area crucial to the water security of the densely populated country. You can read more about the Water Not Gold campaign here.

For three years Melbourne activists have protested outside OceanaGold’s offices every month, and a decision on the case is due to be handed down in August so the time is critical to send a message of solidarity.

Support the people of El Salvador in their fight for justice against corporate greed and come this Friday at 12pm outside OceanaGold's office at 357 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Privatisation creates unregulated monopolies: ACCC chairman

28 July 2016

Privatisation, deregulation and unbounded trade liberalisation are key pillars of the neoliberal economic agenda. This agenda is increasingly being questioned on both sides of politics. So-called FTAs regularly include competition, investment and procurement chapters which push for privatisation.

Most recently, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims - a longtime proponent of privatisation - is now saying "stop the privatisation". Read the full article here.

TPP provisions 'questionable', says Productivity Commission

26 July 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has provisions of “questionable benefit”, says the Productivity Commission, citing the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause allowing foreign corporations to sue the Australian government if they think the government has introduced or changed laws that hurt their commercial interests.

In its annual trade and assistance review, the Productivity Commission also expressed concern about term of copyright and noted the fact that the deal's future in the US is uncertain.

Read the full article in The Guardian here.

Critical voices as VP Biden pitches TPP in Australia

20 July 2016

US Vice President Joe Biden was in Australia this week talking up the TPP, despite the deal being unlikely to make it through the US Congress. At the same time, Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was in the US, trying to shore up support for the deal there.

AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald told the media “The TPP is so unpopular in the US that Australian Ministers are being recruited to lobby for it there, while US officials are talking it up here, urging the Australian Parliament to pass it before the US does."

Listen to the radio interview  and read our media release here.

Vice President Biden talks up TPP in Australia as Congress Republicans say it will not pass this year

Media Release, July 18 2016: “US Vice-President Joe Biden may talk up the TPP in his speech at Sydney University today. But US Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who controls the numbers in the U.S. Senate, declared last week in the Washington Post that the TPP legislation is unlikely to pass Congress this year.

The Government’s trade agenda: Seven deals to keep an eye on

Turnbull government claims about jobs from ‘export’ trade agreements have been dealt a blow by the election results, which have returned record numbers of third parties and independents, most of whom are sceptics about secretive trade deals which expand corporate power and limit national government ability to regulate in the public interest. This will expand critical debate and campaigns as the Government pushes its trade agenda.

We have summarised the progress and major issues of seven current trade deals here.

US Senator accuses Australia of trying to ‘steal’ US medicine patents in TPP

15 July 2016

A pro-trade US senator and US Senate Finance Committee chairman has been holding out on passing the TPP because he wants it to include even stronger monopoly rights on medicines.
Senator Orrin Hatch says that Australia "wants to steal US medicine patents” by refusing to agree to a huge 12-year data protection term for biologics medicines.
These are lifesaving and very expensive medicines being used to treat serious diseases like cancer, and each year of delay before generic versions can become available not only will cost our healthcare system millions but will also ultimately mean that many patients in need around the world will miss out.