The Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network Ltd (AFTINET) is fighting for a fair deal in Australia’s negotiations about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade agreement involving Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam.
AFTINET, a national network of organisations and individuals which campaigns for trade based on human rights, labour rights and environmental sustainability, is calling for the agreement to be released for public and parliamentary debate before it is signed by Cabinet.
Some of AFTINET’s concerns about the TPP are:
- The US wants special rights for foreign investors included which would allow corporations to sue governments if their investments are ‘harmed’ by a law or policy, even if that law or policy is designed to protect public health or the environment
- US trade negotiators are demanding stronger patent rights in the TPP, which would further delay the availability of cheaper generic medicines
- There are proposals in the TPP which would restrict governments’ ability to make medicines affordable, such as Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- The TPP would restrict the ability of the government to regulate food labelling, even if it is in the interest of public health
- The US is proposing extended copyright laws in the TPP. These proposals would extend copyright laws so that they cover companies for 90 or more years after the death of the author, at great expense to educational bodies, libraries and Internet users.
The Australia Institute conducted a survey which revealed that even though only 11 per cent of respondents were aware of the TPP, the majority, once informed of it, supported greater transparency and accountability in the negotiation process and had strong views on what should and should not be included. The survey report, ‘A Democracy Deficit’, found that Australians hold serious concerns about a secretive trade deal which risks a blow-out in the cost of medicines, less Australian television content and relaxed labelling of genetically modified foods.[button_link url=”http://aftinet.org.au/cms/node/636″ target=”” background=”#98CC66″ style=”” title=”” class=”” id=”” onclick=””]Join the campaign for a Fair Deal or No Deal in the TPP[/button_link]