The Trans-Pacific Partnership (now the CPTPP) was originally a massive free trade agreement involving Australia, the US and ten other countries, which reduces our democratic rights while increasing the rights of global corporations. The US withdrew in 2017, and it became the TPP-11, then the CPTPP, with some changes. Critics argued the CPTPP could be bad for:
- Democracy. It allows global corporations to sue governments over health, environment and public interest laws. Read more.
- Essential services: locks in deregulation, promotes privatisation and could prevent future governments from regulating in the public interest, Read more
- Workers. Contains no fully enforceable protection for labour rights or migrant workers, and removes labour market testing for vulnerable temporary migrant workers. Read more.
- The environment: lacks enforceable commitments to key international agreements, does not mention climate change and allows corporations to sue over new environmental laws. Read more.
After six years of community campaigning, the withdrawal of the US in January 2017 meant the TPP-12 could not be implemented.
A Senate inquiry report said no to the implementing legislation in February 2017.
TPP-11 rebadged as the CPTPP in March 2018 and approved by the Australian Parliament in October 2018
Japan and Australia led the pushed for a revived TPP-11 without the US. In November 2017 TPP -11 negotiators signed and re-badged the deal as the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP) and suspended some of its controversial clauses, (but not ISDS). The text was tabled in Parliament on March 26, 2018, and reviewed by parliamentary committees, with most submissions opposing the deal. Many aspects of the TPP-11's thirty chapters contradict Labor Policy, but despite strong internal opposition the majority of the parliamentary caucus supported it. The TPP-11 was approved for ratification by the Coalition and Labor in the Senate in October 2018, with opposition from the Greens, Centre Alliance and other cross-benchers.
Six of the eleven countries ratified the TPP-11 by November 2018, and it came into force for those countries on December 31, 2018. they are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.
As of June 2021, Malaysia, Chile, Peru and Brunei had not ratified the deal. Malaysia had concerns about its development impacts, and was reviewing its involvement. Chile had referred it to scrutiny by parliamentary committees, which was interrupted by civil society protests about inequality that demanded constitutional change. Peru's parliament was dissolved in 2019 after a constitutional crisis. Brunei is an absolute monarchy without a parliament. However, all had ratified by mid-2023.
In June 2021, the UK applied to join the CPTPP as part of its post-Brexit strategy, and was admitted in July 2023. Following community campaigning in by AFTINET and others, Australia and the UK agreed the Investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) wold not apply between them. Australia has a similar agreement with New Zealand.
For in-depth analysis and resources, including AFTINET’s submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiries, click here.
Updated October 2023