29 November 2013
Trade Ministers from 12 countries are meeting in Singapore on December 7-9 to make decisions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Negotiations regarding the treaty have been conducted in secret for three years but some details of the agreement exposed through Wikileaks have alarmed commentators, advocacy groups and elected officials.
Concerns have been expressed that the agreement would see Australians paying more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy.
Some proposed investor-state dispute settlement clauses, allow foreign corporations to sue governments over health and environment laws which are seen to 'harm' their interest. It is claimed that this would affect a government’s ability to regulate in the public interest, and undermine democracy and sovereignty.
The leaked draft shows that the US and Japan oppose wording, supported by most of the other countries, that highlights the importance of "maintain[ing] a balance between the rights of intellectual property holders and the legitimate interests of users and the community".
More information about the agreement and suggestions for taking action can be found at the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network website