Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is 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 TPP is bad for:

  • Democracy. It allows global corporations to sue governments over health, environment and public interest laws. Read more.
  • Health. Medicines will be more expensive because of stronger monopoly rights for pharmaceutical companies to charge higher prices for longer. Read more.
  • Workers. Contains no real protection for labour rights or migrant workers, and removes labour market testing. 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.
  • Internet users. Locks in strong rights for copyright holders at the expense of consumers and internet users. Read more.

Despite all the downsides of the deal, economists and the World Bank predict few benefits for Australia. 

The Turnbull Government will try to rush the TPP’s implementing legislation through Parliament this year, to pave the way for Australia to ratify the agreement. But Labor, Greens and independent representatives could block the deal by voting against its implementing legislation in the Senate. 

For all the latest news on the TPP, follow this link.

For in-depth analysis and resources, including AFTINET’s JSCOT submission and our printable TPP flyer, click 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.

Stronger Copyright monopolies on the Internet

Copyright law is meant to maintain a balance between the right of creators to a reasonable income through payments for the use of their work, and the rights of consumers to fair use of information.

Most copyright is now held by corporations, which lobby for trade agreements to extend their rights.

The TPP locks in strong specific legal rights for copyright holders and criminalisation of copyright breaches, with much vaguer references to fair use provisions for consumers.

Environmental standards not enforceable

The TPP was supposed to include enforceable commitments by governments to at least seven international environment agreements. But the text mentions only four, and only one - on trade in endangered species - has clearly enforceable commitments.

There is no mention of climate change. Global corporations could use ISDS to sue governments for taking action against climate change.


Learn more

No real protection for labour rights or migrant workers

Despite promises that the TPP would contain enforceable labour rights, governments only commit to implementing their own labour laws, not recognised international standards, and the products of forced and child labour are not banned.

Complaints can only be made if there is a “sustained or recurring” viola on of labour rights in a manner affecting trade or investment, meaning public sector workers and others in non-traded sectors are not covered.

The enforcement process requires lengthy consultation and has not been effective in other agreements with similar clauses.