UK – Japan trade deal hints at agenda for proposed UK-Australia FTA

August 12, 2020: The Japanese Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and the UK Trade Secretary, Liz Truss met in person in London last week to finalise the proposed UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement, Media reports said that the major issues were settled and Secretary Truss expected the deal to be finalised by the end of August. The UK also wants FTAs with the EU, Australia, the USA, and New Zealand. The Australian negotiations began in June 2020.

The UK and Japan reportedly agreed on deregulated digital commerce – no local servers for data, no government access to source code -as well as financial services. This appears similar to the terms of the Digital Economic Agreement Australia has just reached with Singapore.

Guardian oped: ISDS proposal in Australia – UK FTA would threaten public interest regulation

June 2, 2021: AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald warns in the Guardian about the dangers of UK proposals to include ISDS in the FTA. UK companies are frequent users of ISDS with 90 recorded cases. Inclusion of ISDS would expose Australia to UK company cases for the first time.

She warned that big UK companies such as mining company Rio Tinto and aged care owner Bupa could sue Australia, just as Philip Morris did over tobacco plain packaging, if they object to new laws or regulations to protect Indigenous heritage sites or implement the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission.

AFTINET impacts Parliamentary Reports on the A-UK FTA and India agreement: legislation passed

November 22, 2022: Enabling legislation for the Australia-UK FTA (AUKFTA) and the Interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) was tabled in parliament on October 27 and was passed on November 22. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) Report on the AUKFTA was tabled on November 17 and the Interim India JSCOT Report on November 18, leaving  little time for them to be considered by parliament. The government made statements urging the quick passage of the legislation. Both reports recommended in favour of the enabling legislation, but they reflected some of AFTINET’s concerns.

Free trade deal with UK must be changed before ratification, AFTINET tells parliament

28 March, 2022: In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), AFTINET has identified major flaws and called for major changes to the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) before ratification.

In our submission, we draw attention to the lack of transparency and democratic accountability in the negotiation process, and we raise the alarm on the deal’s potential impacts on human rights, labour rights and environmental sustainability.

Australian, New Zealand and British Unions warn against bad proposals in UK trade deal

September 23, 2020: As former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott now advises the British government in its trade negotiations with the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, the trade unions from the three countries have issued a united call for decent work and high standards of health,  environment and public services.

UK pressures Australia for carbon reductions in FTA talks as EU and US ponder carbon levies

February 12, 2021: Both new US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are headlining their determination to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. But Australia’s Morrison government is declaring that it will fight any proposal to impose border carbon levies, including in the current UK-Australia and EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Final UK FTA talks on corporate rights to sue governments alarm community groups

MEDIA RELEASE, May 31, 2021

“The British Trade Minister has confirmed that corporate rights to sue governments are being discussed in the final negotiations for the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement before an announcement at the G7 meeting in the UK on June 11-13. This is unacceptable and will fuel community opposition to the deal in both Australia and the UK,“ Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network said today.

As reported in the Guardian UK Trade Minister Greg Hands said: “It is a live negotiation. There will be a chapter on investment. We are huge investors in each other’s markets. I would remind the House that the UK has never lost an ISDS case.”

UK Australia FTA announcement hides possible nasties on corporate rights and medicine monopolies in secret deal

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                            

June 15, 2021

“The announcement of ‘in-principle’ agreement for an Australia-UK free trade agreement continues the unacceptable government secrecy about the details of the agreement,” Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor said today.

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