Risks in Trans-Pacific Trade Deal
The Council of Trade Unions says that there are some big risks being taken in the trade deal with Chile, Singapore and Brunei. The main concern said Ross Wilson, CTU President, is the ‘negative list’ approach to services, which means all our services trade is covered unless it is specifically excluded.
Ross Wilson says that “although we have met with officials many times over this issue they have not been prepared to go into details on draft text so we could be assured that public services are protected. We will now have to carefully examine the full agreement to gauge its effect”.
Ross Wilson said that the CTU is also disappointed that the labour memorandum does not have stronger wording on disputes. Even the weak provisions in the Thailand agreement had a mechanism to enable unions to raise concerns about breaches of labour standards. The CTU does however welcome the fact that the memorandum is legally binding.
The CTU also notes that the tariff phase down for textiles, clothing and footwear adopts a 2015 end point, which is the same as the Thailand agreement. Ross Wilson said that this may have important implications for the China free trade negotiations.