Trans-Pacific Partnership

Does the new Senate mean the TPP is dead?

6 July 2016

“One thing that is certain after Saturday’s election, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead, and along with it the Coalition’s economic agenda and narrative,” writes The Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss in New Matilda.

He predicts that the new cross-bench Senators, including Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson will oppose the TPP and other free trade deals because they cost Australian manufacturing workers jobs. Read his piece here.

If the Coalition does form Government, the votes of these Senators will be needed to pass legislation when Labor and the Greens are opposed. We know that the Greens and most other cross-benchers will vote against the TPP implementing legislation. The TPP also contradicts Labor policy, but they have not yet made a decision about the TPP legislation.

Denniss is optimistic that it’s unlikely that Labor will “pivot to the right” on economic management after Shorten’s shock success. He argues:

“So while in theory the ALP could offer the Coalition a lifeline for the ratification of its trade deals, the reality is that such a display of bipartisan contempt for the public’s hostility to trickle-down trade policies would be of even greater benefit to the new cross benchers than Turnbull’s decision to both change the Senate voting rules and call a DD.”

AFTINET has shown TPP’s many downsides for workers’ rights, public health and democracy. But we can’t be complacent, and need to keep up pressure for Labor to vote against the TPP’s implementing legislation.

Sanders pushes for Democrats to commit to rejecting TPP

30 June 2016 

Writing for the New York Times, prominent US democrat Bernie Sanders makes the case for his party to commit to reject the TPP in the post-election "lame duck period" and beyond.

In the wake of Brexit, he writes, "We need to fundamentally reject our “free trade” policies and move to fair trade. Americans should not have to compete against workers in low-wage countries who earn pennies an hour. We must defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We must help poor countries develop sustainable economic models."

Tweet to Jason Clare, new Labor Shadow Trade Minister

Jason Clare MP is the new Shadow Minister for Trade & Investment, which means he has a powerful role in deciding Labor's position on the TPP and ultimately whether the deal is ever ratified in Australia.

Let Mr Clare know why you are concerned about the deal by sending him a message on Twitter. Here are some examples: 

Hi @JasonClareMP. I'm worried the #TPP is good for corporations and bad for people:

Hi @JasonClareMP. I'm concerned the #TPP is bad for #health, the #environment & #democracy:

You can also sign the SumOfUs petition to reject the TPP here.


Free trade agreements not the great deal we've been sold

22 June 2016: Former deputy secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and High Commissioner in Canada Greg Wood writes that free trade agreements are not the great deal we've been sold.

He argues for less secrecy in trade negotiations and is critical of the China FTA, calling it a "rubbery document, lacking true reciprocity.” 

On the ISDS provisions in the TPP and other deals, he argues that the wording of claimed “carve outs” for health and environment open a "field day for lawyers”.

Read the full article in Fairfax Media here.

Clinton to renegotiate dud deals and reject TPP

21 June 2016

In a major economics policy speech today, US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that trade deals which are not working for Americans should be rejected, and agreements like the TPP which don’t meet high standards for raising wages or creating good-paying jobs should be rejected.

She also contrasted her views on trade with those of Republican candidate Donald Trump, who also opposes the TPP. 

“There's a difference between getting tough on trade, and recklessly starting trade wars,” she said.

Read the full article here.