Australia

In the last two years the Australian Government has finalised bilateral trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan, which are now in force. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries has been agreed, but is being reviewed by a Parliamentary committees before Parliament votes on the implementing legislation. The TPP will not come into force until six of the 12 countries including the US and Japan pass the implementing legislation, which is expected to take two years.

The current conservative Coalition government has agreed to include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Korea and China bilateral FTAs as well as the TPP. ISDS allows foreign companies to bypass national courts and sue governments for compensation if they can argue that a change in law or policy harms their investment. The previous Labor government had a policy against ISDS, and even a previous Coalition government did not include ISDS in the Australia-US free trade agreement in 2004.

There is widespread opposition in the Australian community to the inclusion of ISDS in the TPP. The TPP is also controversial because it extends monopoly rights on expensive life-saving biologic medicines, which will mean more years of very high prices before cheaper versions become available. There are also grave concerns about its impacts on food labelling standards and expanded access for temporary workers without additional protection of workers’ rights. A recent World Bank study found that Australia was only likely to gain almost no economic benefit from the deal.

Australia is currently involved in multilateral negotiations towards the PACER-plus agreement with New Zealand and 14 Pacific Island countries, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). It is also negotiating bilateral trade agreements with India and Indonesia and will begin talks with Hong Kong and Taiwan later this year and the EU next year.

Contributed by AFTINET

last update: May 2016


    Articles

     EN   ES   FR 
  • 3-Dec-2015 Sugar socialism could breach free trade agreements
    The forced re-regulation of Queensland’s $2 billion sugar industry could breach international trade agreements and threaten foreign investment, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said.
  • 14-Sep-2015 Crikey Australia’s stance in IP negotiations: ‘That didn’t work, let’s do it again.’
    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is meant to be one definition of insanity. It’s also a pretty good definition of poor policymaking.
  • 7-Jul-2015 Miners dig in against union critics of free-trade deals
    The Minerals Council of Australia has dismissed critics of free-trade agreements, including unions and civil society groups, arguing that deals struck between Aus­tralia and other countries have brought substantial benefits.
  • 24-Jun-2015 Free trade agreements ’preferential’ and dangerous, says Productivity Commission
    The Productivity Commission has launched a scathing attack on Australia’s latest series of free trade agreements, saying they grant legal rights to foreign investors not available to Australians, expose the government to potentially large unfunded liabilities and add extra costs on businesses attempting to comply with them.
  • 23-Jun-2015 Bloomberg Stalled Indonesia-Australia trade talks may restart after spats
    Australia is seeking to restart trade talks with Indonesia, Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said, after a series of diplomatic spats left the negotiations in limbo.
  • 22-Jun-2015 AAP Working through night on India FTA: Hockey
    Australia is putting pressure on India to sign up to free trade agreement as good as the one finalised with China last week, says Treasurer Joe Hockey
  • 13-Apr-2015 Al Arabiya Australian trade minister: FTA with GCC ‘possible within months’
    Australia and the GCC countries may only be a few months away from signing a landmark Free Trade Agreement deal “if a decision is made quickly,” Australia Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb says.
  • 31-Mar-2015 Gulf Business Australia-GCC free trade agreement “a priority”
    A GCC-Australia Free Trade Agreement is top of the agenda for Andrew Robb, the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, when he returns to the region in April.
  • 12-Jan-2015 Spanish People Australia e India se acercan a TLC
    Australia e India se acercan a un histórico tratado de libre comercio (TLC), indicó el ministro de Comercio e Inversión de Australia, Andrew Robb.
  • 17-Nov-2014 ABC Trade Minister says he’ll now work on a deal with India, after signing of FTA with China
    Within an hour of finalising a free trade deal with China, Australia’s Federal Trade Minister said he hoped to complete an FTA with India in the next year.
  • 0 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | ... | 150

    Links

  • AID/WATCH
    AID/WATCH is an independent membership-based watchdog on aid, trade and debt, working with communities in the Global south.
  • Rethinking globalisation
    New blog from Global Trade Watch - Australia