TPP Inquiry: Government majority backs a dead horse but Labor and Greens slam TPP

Source: Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network Ltd.

The report of the Government-majority Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has predictably endorsed the ratification of the TPP, AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

However ALP committee members’ critical comments on the report described some TPP provisions as “risky and harmful to Australia’s interests,” expressed “concerns about ratifying the TPP in terms of both content and process,” and criticised the haste to ratify when it appears certain that the TPP will not proceed.  The Greens’ dissenting report called for rejection of the agreement.

Dr Ranald said the TPP text is clear that it cannot proceed without endorsement from the US, the largest of the 12 economies involved.

“The JSCOT majority report backs a dead horse, because the TPP cannot proceed without the US,” said Dr Ranald.

“The ALP and Greens reflect the strong criticism of the TPP from a record number of over 11,000 submissions from a wide range of community organisations and academic experts.”

Dr Ranald said community groups opposed the TPP because it gives global companies the right to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over domestic laws. It extends monopolies on biologic medicines for an additional three years, delaying cheaper versions of those medicines, which would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. It also entrenches copyright monopolies. Chapters on services reduce the ability of future governments to regulate essential services. The TPP also increases the numbers of temporary migrant workers who are vulnerable to exploitation, without testing if local workers are available.

Dr Ranald said the Senate inquiry on the TPP will not report until February 7, 2017.

“The Opposition and minor parties have a majority on the Senate inquiry. We hope its report will be a more independent and critical assessment of the TPP and will recommend against ratification of an agreement which cannot come into force,” said Dr Ranald.

“We will be urging the Senate to block the implementing legislation if the government persists with it next year.”

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