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AFTINET welcomes TPP 11 collapse

AFTINET welcomes TPP 11 collapse, calls for fair trade policies to benefit most Australians

“The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community organisations welcomes the news that the TPP 11 attempt to revive the deal without the US has collapsed,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today. “The Canadian withdrawal was the trigger, but the collapse is not really surprising given the TPP faced strong community opposition in the US, Australia and other TPP countries.”

Dr Ranald said that community groups oppose the TPP because it gives pharmaceutical companies stronger monopolies on costly biologic medicines, delaying the availability of cheaper forms of those medicines. A new study by health experts released this week showed that this could cost the PBS hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The TPP also gives special rights to foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over changes to domestic laws. It would also restrict future governments from re-regulating essential services like energy or financial services, despite demonstrated market failures, and it would result in more vulnerable temporary migrant workers, without testing if local workers were available. Opposition from a broad range of Australian community groups meant an Australian Senate inquiry refused to endorse the TPP, and the Australian Parliament has not passed the implementing legislation.

“Many of the 11 other governments only agreed to this agenda because the US demanded it in return for access to US markets. The newly - elected New Zealand Labour government opposes ISDS. Canada and Mexico have no interest in agreeing to detailed provisions in a revised TPP before NAFTA negotiations resume in March next year. The Japanese government has different interests from Australia because it does not have a free trade agreement with the US, and fears worse outcomes from bilateral negotiations,” said Dr Ranald.

“It was foolish for Australia join Japan in leading the charge to revive the TPP when our interests are different from Japan. Australia already has free trade agreements with the US and all but three of the other ten TPP countries, (Peru, Mexico and Canada). This meant the TPP delivered minimal extra market access. Studies showed the TPP with the US would deliver hardly any economic growth to Australia after 15 years. The government has refused to do any studies on the impact of the deal without the US, but any economic benefit would be even less.”

“The Australian government had already quietly conceded that a TPP without the US was unlikely by concluding a separate deal with Peru yesterday. Unfortunately this also includes ISDS. We don’t need the zombie TPP, but we do need more open and progressive fair trade policies that will benefit most Australians,” said Dr Ranald

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