Monday, December 20, 2010

[pima.nius] pactrade debate on report | why free trade means less productivity

10:28 AM |

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PANG Campaigner <>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 09:36:48 +1300
Subject: Re: [pactrade] Aust Productivity Commission Report on FTAs

The below email comes from Harvey at AFTINET.

For everyone's information I have reproduced below is AFTINET's media
release that went out yesterday. We are undertaking some further
analysis of the report and I will circulate as soon as that is
available. Pat Ranald appeared on the ABC radio program PM yesterday to

The report contains parts that will be usable and whilst it is not what
we would have hoped it is better than we feared. For example the
recommendation on Investor-State Dispute Processes to avoid their
inclusion and the caveats around them is effectively a direct
recommendation against their inclusion; the recommendation that
inclusion of IP should be avoided can also be used this way, the same
group recommendation suggests that a cautious approach to including
labour standards but doesn't use the stronger language on IP and ISDP
that they should be avoided. The headline of that group of
recommendations is also interesting reading: "The Australian Government
*should not include matter*s in bilateral and regional trade agreements
*that would *serve to increase barriers to trade, raise cots or *affect
established social policies* without a comprehensive review of the
implications and available options for change."

It is important to note that there is a dissenting report by Professor
Andrew Stoller, Associate Commisioner. He was appointed by the
government for his expertise - he heads the Institute for International
Trade at Adelaide University (he's the one that set the training courses
up for PACER-Plus officials), is a former deputy director of the WTO,
and numerous other positions within the neo-liberal trade establishment.
His need for a dissenting report should be a signal that the report
contains components that the advocates of neo-liberal policy do not like
and therefore should be useful to us, if only to blunt their arguments.

The devil in this will be the detail and that will emerge from analysis
now being undertaken. It is however clear that we will be able to use
components of the report in our campaigning.

*/Media release /*December 14, 2010

 Productivity Commission Report rejects key US demands in proposed
 Trans Pacific trade deal

 "The Productivity Commission Report on Bilateral and Regional Trade
Agreements contains many of the criticisms of the Australia-US Free
Trade Agreement and otheragreements raised by unions and community
groups," Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and
Investment Network said today.

 Dr Ranald said that the report confirmed that the claimed economic
benefits of many of the agreements have been oversold, and are in fact
minimal or zero.

 "The report also confirms that some provisions in the Australia-US
Free Trade Agreement were in fact against the national interest and
should not be included in future trade agreements. These include
intellectual property provisions which increase monopoly rights for
corporations in areas like copyright and patents at the expense of
consumers. For example, extending monopoly patent rights allows drug
companies longer periods to charge very high prices for medicines,which
is clearly against the interests of consumers,"said Dr Ranald.

 "The report also recommends against investor-state dispute processes,
which give additional rights to foreign investors to sue governments for
damages outsidethe Australian legal system. Public campaigning kept
these extra corporate rights out of the Australia-US Free Trade
Agreement but US companies like Philip Morris are demanding them in the
current Trans Pacific negotiations between the US, Australia and seven
other countries," said Dr Ranald.

 "If these extra corporate rights were included in the Trans Pacific
Partnership Agreement, they would give tobacco companies like Philip
Morris the right to sue the government for damages if it introduces its
proposed cigarette plain packaging legislation."

 "We note that Trade Minister Emerson has said that he will not agree
to trade deals which are against the national interest. We urge him to
stand firm against these US corporate demands in the Trans Pacific
Partnership Agreement talks," said Dr Ranald.

*/ Contact: Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor, 0419 695 841/*

Yours In unity


. . .

jason brown
+6421 024 84 560
avaiki nius agency

. . .

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