Trade Transparency

AFTINET tells public hearing that the EU knows more than Australians about our trade talks, and calls for change

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                 Monday August 24, 2020

“It is disgraceful that Europeans know more than Australians about our trade negotiations because the Australian government refuses to release the text of trade agreements until after they are signed,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Parliamentary inquiry into the trade agreement process

July 8, 2020: This inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is the result of negotiations between the ALP and the government about passing the enabling legislation for the Indonesia FTA.

The terms of reference are broad enough for a public debate about the secrecy of trade negotiations, the lack of independent assessment of trade deals and the need for change. 

Secrecy of negotiations

The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have been widely criticised for their secrecy. Under the current process,  the details of the deal were kept secret until after the text was agreed, and Cabinet, not Parliament makes the decision to sign the agreement. Parliament does not get to vote on the whole text,  only on the implementing legislation.

For more information, see our explanation of the Australian process for trade agreements, and the Report of the Senate Inquiry into the trade agreement process, aptly called Blind Agreement.