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Trump backflip on the TPP exposes its problems

Trump backflip on the TPP exposes its problems and reinforces the need for full-length JSCOT and Senate Inquiries

“US President Trump’s announcement that he will renegotiate what is now the TPP-11 exposes the dodgy nature of the deal. The remaining 11 countries reached agreement on the basis that bad provisions sponsored by the US are identified as unacceptable but are only suspended and remain in the deal, and could be reactivated if the US re-joined,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

“The suspended clauses include longer monopoly rights on medicines which would delay the availability of affordable medicines and stronger copyright monopolies that would increase the rights of copyright holders at the expense of consumers.

“Australia has never before signed a deal containing essentially unacceptable provisions that could be re-activated if an outside party re-joins the deal. This demands close independent scrutiny by both the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) and the Senate inquiry,” said Dr Ranald.

“Many questions remain unanswered. If the suspended clauses are reinstated through negotiation with the US, this will change the nature of the deal again, demanding further public and parliamentary scrutiny. Trump has also said he would want a ‘substantially better deal’ for the US which is likely to mean even longer monopoly rights on medicines than are in the suspended clauses, and other more outrageous demands”, said Dr Ranald.

“Many other unacceptable provisions remain in the deal, including foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS), restrictions on government regulation of essential services and increased numbers of temporary migrant workers without first testing if local workers are available,” said Dr Ranald.

“The government has been trying to cut short the JSCOT inquiry from 20 joint Parliamentary sitting days to only 10 days, so that it would report in June rather than August, exerting pressure on the Senate to constrain its inquiry which is due to report in September.

“We call on the government to confirm that both Inquiries will not be curtailed, to enable full assessment of whether the current TPP-11 deal or any renegotiated deal is in the public interest.

“If it is not in the public interest we will campaign for the Senate to block the implementing legislation,” said Dr Ranald.

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