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Tans-Pacific trade deal a hard sell for PM Turnbull

January 18, 2016

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

“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, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

The US Ambassador to Australia has asked Mr Turnbull to lobby members of Congress in support of the TPP legislation to be considered by Congress later this year.

“It is extraordinary that the US administration is asking other governments to put the case for the TPP,” said Doctor Ranald.This is because strong popular opposition to the TPP in the US has resulted in Democrat and Republican presidential candidatescondemning the TPP, and key members of Congress committees have predicted that Congress will not even vote on TPP implementing legislation until after the presidential elections.”

Dr Ranald said that economic studies released in January from the World Bank and Tufts University have shown that TPP economic impacts for both the Australian and US economies are either negligible or negative, which makes the TPP a very hard sell.

“The World Bank study uses a methodology that does not take into account potential negative changes in employment, but despite this still finds it will boost the Australian economy by only 0.7% after 15 years and US economy by only 0.4 per cent (p. 227). The TUFTS University study does take into account employment effects and shows an average annual increase in GDP over 10 years of only 0.1% for Australia and a decrease of -0.06% for the US (p.17),” explained Doctor Ranald.

“Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also written in January that the inclusion in the TPP of foreign investors’ right to sue governments over changes to domestic law or policy is a threat to environmental regulation, including the regulation needed to combat climate change. The Trans-Canada company announced in January that it is using similar provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue the US government because it decided not to proceed with the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline for environmental reasons,” said Dr Ranald.

Opinion polls show that most Australians are opposed to foreign investors suing governments over changes to domestic law. As more analysis emerges, the TPP implementing legislation will face a rocky road both in the U.S. Congress and in the Australian Parliament,” said Doctor Ranald.


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