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Senate TPP-11 Report identifies flaws but endorses TPP-11

September 18, 2018

Community groups disappointed that Senate TPP-11 Report identifies serious flaws but endorses TPP-11

“We are deeply disappointed that the Labor majority report of the Senate Standing Committee on the TPP-11 has strongly criticized many aspects of the deal and recommended changes by a future government, but has nevertheless endorsed its implementation,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

“This was not unexpected, given the decision of the ALP caucus majority last week to support the TPP-11, despite its inconsistency with ALP policy. In practice it would be difficult for a future Labor government, having endorsed the implementation of the deal in opposition, to negotiate such changes with the other 10 governments in the TPP-11 after implementation.”

“We welcome Centre Alliance committee member Senator Rex Patrick’s more consistent recommendation that, given its flaws, the TPP-11 should not be implemented until after such changes are negotiated, and note that the Greens and other crossbenchers also oppose its implementation.”

Dr Ranald noted that the report identifies the following serious flaws in the TPP-11:
• The inclusion in the TPP-11 of ISDS provisions which permit foreign corporations to bypass national courts and to sue governments in international tribunals over changes to domestic laws leave Australia vulnerable to lengthy legal disputes with foreign corporations. The report recommends that these provisions should be removed from the TPP-11 in future, and recommends against including ISDS provisions in other trade agreements.
• The removal of labour market testing for temporary contractual service providers covering over 450 trades and professions from TPP-11 countries which would mean an increase in temporary migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation without first testing if local workers were available. The report recommends that these provisions should be removed from the TPP-11 in future, and recommends against including such provisions in other trade agreements
• Insufficient information to stakeholders and parliament before the TPP-11 was signed
• No independent analysis of the costs and benefits of the TPP-11

She added that the report also recommends a series of reforms advocated by AFTINET to the trade agreement process including release of draft negotiating texts, release of the full text before signing, and independent studies of the of economic impacts before signing.

“These recommendations reflect the strong opposition to the TPP-11 from the majority of substantial submissions from community organisations and academic experts, and their advocacy for change to the current secretive and undemocratic trade process,” said Dr Ranald. “The submissions came from public health groups, unions, environment groups, aid and development organisations, retirees and local councils. AFTINET continues to advocate that the TPP-11 should not be implemented.”

ends

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