United States politics is witnessing a new sorry spectacle — and one with real consequences for Australia, as well as other nations on the Pacific rim. US President Barack Obama is trying to drum up support from his party to implement the agenda of the huge corporations that sought to block his election and re-election via the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” deal involving 12 Pacific rim nations. The text of the proposed agreement and the negotiations have been kept secret, but key chapters have leaked and been published by WikiLeaks.
A report has found that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would be likely to adversely affect the health of the Australian population. The TPP is a free trade deal being negotiated by countries on the Pacific rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.
Australia signed a free trade agreement with China on November 17. The Coalition government and the media praise the agreement, but other groups are concerned about the implications. More than 85% of Australian exports will be tariff free initially, rising to 93% in four years. Some of these goods are subject to tariffs of up to 40%. On full implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, 95% of Australian exports to China will be tariff free.
A new free trade deal to be signed this year could allow foreign corporations to sue the Australian government for introducing environmental regulations on coal seam gas (CSG). Australia has joined 11 other countries — the United States, Malaysia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Unlike most trade deals, other countries can sign on in the future.
The United States government hopes that negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will reach a final agreement this year. If completed, it will create the world’s largest “free trade agreement” — with serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people living in the affected countries. The 18th round of TPP negotiations will take place in Malaysia on July 15-25. This will be the first time Japan has taken part, joining the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.