Choice: Trans-Pacific Partnership secretly trading away rights

The federal government should encourage open and honest debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Author: Zoya Sheftalovich

Are you concerned about increasing cost of medicines? Would you worry if Australians could be jailed for illegally downloading an episode of Game of Thrones? Do you want to know if your muesli bar contains palm oil?

Then you really should care about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement being negotiated in secret between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. In this report you will find information on:

  • The secrecy surrounding the TPP and details of how the media is being locked out of briefings
  • How the Australian government could become more vulnerable to lawsuits from multinational corporations
  • Why food labelling in Australia is in danger
  • How draconian copyright provisions could significantly curb our freedom online
  • How new patent provisions could make medication costs skyrocket
  • CHOICE’s campaign on the TPP
  • CHOICE is calling for the TPP text to be released before a final agreement is signed.

CHOICE investigates the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the impact it will have on your consumer rights and privacy. Why all the secrecy?

What CHOICE wants

It is not too late to release the drafts of the TPP so that they can be debated in civil society and so the TPP can be made fairer for consumers.

The leak of the IP chapter of the TPP by WikiLeaks indicates that there are many sections of the TPP upon which the 12 parties don’t agree, so the agreement is not finalised.

CHOICE is currently campaigning against the secrecy surrounding the TPP. We have now lodged our petition, signed by over 14,000 Australians, calling on the government to release the contents of the TPP. We believe such an important and binding trade agreement must be open for public scrutiny and oversight. The signed petition has been presented to the government to send the message that Australian consumers deserve to have a say on the TPP.

And our campaign doesn’t stop there. To find out how you can get further involved with our TPP campaign, check out our #ReleaseTheText campaigners information kit.

Why haven’t you heard more about it?

The TPP has been shrouded in secrecy, with negotiations happening behind closed doors and non-disclosure agreements securing the negotiators’ silence. And while CHOICE has met with several of those involved in drafting the agreement and even attended meetings with negotiators at a round of negotiations held in Malaysia in 2013 (we were permitted to have our say, but could only guess at the contents of the agreement in order to raise our objections), we still don’t know what the final agreement will contain. Because of the secrecy, which began under the previous Labor government and has continued last year’s election of the Coalition, any public knowledge about the TPP is based on leaked drafts and statements made by those involved.

The kicker? Hundreds of “cleared advisors” – a group comprising industry lobbyists from the US – have had access to the full drafts of the TPP, while public interest groups like CHOICE have been kept in the dark.

WikiLeaks recently published a draft of the intellectual property chapter of the agreement, which they say was distributed among the chief negotiators of the TPP in late August 2013. While the final chapter will likely be different as talks are ongoing (several rounds of talks have already been held after the leaked chapter was authored), the draft includes details on the positions taken by the countries on various measures. This leaked draft indicates that consumer rights could be significantly eroded if Australia signs and ratifies the TPP.

“Australian consumers have been betrayed,” says Dr Matthew Rimmer, Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law. “The intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a monster. The proposals in respect of copyright law, trademark law, patent law, and data protection would hit Australian consumers hard.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership undermines Australian efforts to take substantive policy action in respect of IT pricing. The agreement does nothing to further efforts to reform copyright exceptions in Australia. The agreement threatens consumer rights, privacy, and internet freedom.”

DFAT to media: you’re “ineligible” to attend TPP briefings

The Australian government seems like it isn’t too keen on TPP negotiations hitting the headlines. In late October 2013, technology journalist Josh Taylor of ZDNet told CHOICE he was barred from attending a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) briefing on the TPP negotiations, despite the fact that his RSVP had previously been confirmed.

According to the invitation, the briefing was open to “members of the public, and business and civil society stakeholders”; no mention was made of journalists being excluded. But in revoking his invitation, Taylor says DFAT told him that TPP briefings are “off the record”. In a backflip, DFAT later reportedly told the journalist he could attend in a private capacity, but couldn’t record or attribute any of the briefing material.

Continue reading here…


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Categories: Australian-news, International-news

Author:General Maddox

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4 Comments on “Choice: Trans-Pacific Partnership secretly trading away rights”

  1. Anenome Ofglobalgov
    March 30, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    The One World Corporation COUP D’ TAT of our nation’s sovereignty, and fully sanctioned and aided and abbeted by both australia’s political parties behind our backs. So, WHO IS RUNNING THE COUNTRY, REALLY??

  2. gusgrunt
    March 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    How on earth would our now Federal Government encourage open and honest debate when all our governments, past and present, have promoted the ‘free trade’ con to align themselves with their overlords demanding a corporate world order.
    There is no free trade as we are controlled by a debt economy and nothing is for free.
    The interest repayments accrued to international bankers who create money (debt) out of thin air and loan it to our controlled governments keeps wage earners poor…. that’s the agenda and that is ‘free trade’.
    Go back to the Lima Declaration, unknowingly burdened on the backs of Aussie workers in 1975, was introduced by our treasonous Pollies (all party’s) to send our manufacturing overseas to third world countries to benefit their economies and sacrifice ours on the alter of Molek.
    Have a geek at the average hourly rate of these ‘beneficiaries’ and you will note that their wage averages about a dollar per hour.(WHO, IMF)…. could you survive on that?
    We don’t benefit and neither do they so who benefits?…….. go check it out!…but!…. if we are so stupid to allow Tony Abbott to sign the TPP agreement then we have lost Aus forever to the world banking corporations and as the great George Carlin stated “they own you!”……. Gus

  3. April 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on conspiracyoz.

  4. April 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Free Trade is the ultimate con allowing the worlds cartel corporations to hammer the final nail into the coffin lid of nationalism and consume the wealth of all nations.
    Putting it simply…… you are going to have the serfdom hat back on wether you like it or not!

    Free trade is Agenda 21 and I offer excerpts from Dan Estulin’s great book ‘TransEvolution: The Coming Age of Human Destruction.”

    The Venetian Black Nobility… our dearest royals….. just can’t wait for a royal wave…..(my words.)
    The Windsor-centered oligarchy owns these cartels, and they are the instruments of power of the oligarchy, accumulated over centuries, for breaking nations’ sovereignty.
    Windsor-led food and raw materials cartel has complete domination over world cereals and grains supplies, from wheat to corn and oats, from barley to sorghum and rye. But it also controls meat, dairy, edible oils and fats, fruits and vegetables, sugar, and all forms of spices.

    WTO liturgy is: Nations must not keep food reserves, because this would be trade-distorting. Nations must not attempt to be food self-sufficient, because this would deny their citizens the right to access the world market. Nations must not support their own farmers, because this harms farmers elsewhere. Nations must not use tariffs, because this denies right-of-access to your citizens by foreign producers. And on and on and on. The consequences of these actions are genocidal so don’t debate it. Cancel it.15

    You be the judge……. Gus

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