95 Asia-Pacific organisations band together against ISDS

4 August 2016

An unprecedented alliance of 95 civil society organisations from the Asia-Pacific today urged trade ministers not to include investor rights to sue governments in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, currently being negotiated in Laos.

AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said “ISDS has been a major driver of community opposition to the TPP between the US, Australia and 10 Pacific rim countries, and will generate the same strong opposition to the RCEP."

“Two of the largest RCEP countries, India and Indonesia, are actually withdrawing from bilateral investment treaties which contain ISDS, because of ISDS claims of hundreds of millions of dollars against them.

We urge the Australian government and other TPP countries like Japan and Korea not to pursue the failed TPP ISDS model in the RCEP.”

Leaked Trade in Services proposals would restrict regulation in the public interest

Media Release, May 26, 2016: Wikileaks has released the most updated draft texts on the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)[i]on three new annexes: State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs); Professional Services, and New Provisions Applicable to All Services.

The TISA is currently being negotiated among 50 mostly industrialised and service-exporting countries including Australia, the US, 23 EU countries, Japan and Korea.

Download the full media release here.

Stop rush to finish India and Pacific Island trade deals before elections

MEDIA RELEASE, April 14 2016“Trade Envoy Andrew Robb’s stated intention to complete secret negotiations on the India FTA in the next six weeks could violate the Caretaker Convention which states that governments should not finalise trade deals in the election period, which is likely to be from May 11 to July 2,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today. 

Trans-Pacific trade deal a hard sell for PM Turnbull in Washington

Media Release January 18, 2016 : "Prime Minister Turnbull faces an uphill battle convincing members of the U.S. Congress to support legislation for the TPP, given recent studies which show negligible or negative impacts from the TPP on the Australian and US economies, and threats to environmental laws,” Dr Patricia Ranald,  Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

ALP, Greens and independents co-host TPP forum amid strong community opposition

Media Release, February 3, 2016:

Fifty-nine community organisations representing more than two million Australians from all walks of life have endorsed a letter to parliamentarians asking for an independent review of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on Australians before Parliament votes on the TPP implementing legislation.

Representatives AFTINET, the ACTU, the Public Health Association and GetUp will speak at a forum co-hosted by ALP, Greens and Independent parliamentarians today, Wednesday February 3, 11.30 am, Room 101, Parliament House, Canberra.   

GetUp and SumofUS will also present petitions signed by 306,760 Australians, showing strong community opposition to the TPP.

Minister Robb shoots the messenger, refuses independent TPP assessment

MEDIA RELEASE, February 4, 2016: Trade Minister Robb today rejected calls from 59 community organisations representing over two million Australians for an independent assessment by the Productivity Commission on ABC national radio this morning. He claimed  that the broad alliance of public health, church, environment, aid and development and union organisations were just ‘the usual suspects opposed to all trade agreements’. 

AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said that Mr. Robb was shooting the messenger, and failing to address genuine community concerns, also expressed by bodies like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Productivity Commission.

Robb promises US longer TPP monopolies on biologic drugs

Media Release February 25, 2016

The US Politico publication reported this week that trade envoy Andrew Robb has reassured US pharmaceutical companies that the TPP will provide “at least eight years of market protection” for expensive biologic drugs, and “potentially as long as 12 to 17 years in Australia’s case”.

Mr Robb is in the US to try to persuade a reluctant U.S. Congress of the benefits of the TPP.

All presidential candidates are opposing the TPP, and Congress will not vote on it until after the November presidential election.

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