Trade Transparency

Media Release: LNP secrecy deal for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) challenges Labor policy for trade transparency

October 4, 2022: The US Trade Representative Office has confirmed that it signed secrecy agreements with Australia and 12 other members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in April 2022, after an FOI request revealed the secrecy agreement signed with New Zealand.

AFTINET submission to the JSCOT review of the interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation Agreement

August 19, 2022: The interim IACEPA was negotiated under the previous government in haste and without consultation with civil society organisations.. Some of its provisions are not consistent with the current government’s policy. The interim agreement contains only 14 chapters out of a possible 20 or 30 chapters and commits to negotiations for a comprehensive agreement which would include further chapters.

Australia-India Interim Economic Cooperation Agreement submissions due August 19

August 8, 2022: Labor has a policy for a more transparent public and parliamentary process for future trade agreements. See our critique of the current process here and Labor policy here.

However the government  is proceeding with the  very limited Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) review process for the Indian and UK agreements which were signed by the previous government before the election. AFTINET raised the process issues in our submission on the UK FTA and will raise them in our submission on the India FTA.

UK FTA faces UK popular opposition and legal challenge over secrecy and lack of consultation

July 20, 2022 :New polling commissioned by UK groups Trade Justice Movement and Global Justice Now has found that 78 per cent of Britons want MPs to debate the pros and cons of new trade deals before they come into force. The House of Commons trade committee has requested the Trade Minister for a full debate before ratification, and criticised its inability to scrutinise the deal properly. This followed an independent report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission  confirming that the trade deal will affect employment in the farm and food sectors and could lower environmental, food safety, and animal welfare standards.