Community Group lockout spotlights secrecy of Trans-Pacific trade talks in Auckland

Media Release

December 4, 2012

“Over 20 international representatives of health, union, consumer and environment organisations have been locked out of the Trans-Pacific talks venue in Auckland,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

"Many have travelled long distances at great expense, with no advance warning that they would be locked out for nine of the ten days of the negotiations.”

“This is an unprecedented increase in the level of secrecy for these negotiations,” added Dr Ranald.. "It is bad enough that negotiating documents are secret and not available for public discussion. But at previous talks we have at least been allowed access to the public areas of the venue so we could speak to negotiators informally between sessions and arrange appointments with them.”

European Union rejects ACTA, but what about the TPPA?

Media Release

July 5, 2012

“We welcome the European Parliament’s overwhelming cross-party decision to reject the ACTA, and hope that similar proposals in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations this week in San Diego will also be rejected,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

“The European Parliament rejection by 478 votes to 39 reflects widespread community concern about ACTA’s potential to increase rights of corporate copyright holders and impose criminal penalties for internet users. Hundreds of thousands of European citizens have demonstrated and signed petitions calling for their representatives to reject the treaty,” said Dr Ranald.

Australian High Court rules against big tobacco on plain packaging

AFTINET Media Release: 

October 5, 2012

“We welcome the High Court decision as a vindication of the Government’s right to regulate tobacco as an addictive substance that still kills 15,000 Australians per year,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today.

“But the government still faces two more legal challenges from big tobacco, which is desperate to stop Australia setting an example by implementing the plain packaging recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

“Some trade agreements have clauses which allow foreign investors to sue governments, on the grounds that a law or policy ‘harms’ their investment. The Australian government policy is to oppose these clauses in current and future trade negotiations. However, they do exist in some past trade agreements, and big tobacco is taking full advantage of this,” explained Dr Ranald.

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