Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government has been intelligent about free trade agreements

virtually every free trade agreement we’ve [ USA] negotiated since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has contained language that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.

The sole exception is our free trade agreement with Australia — because the Australian government refused to allow its laws to be attacked by foreign corporations.

That was smart, because corporations have been quick to take advantage of this ability to attack a country’s laws and protections. 

What Are They Trying to Hide? HUFFINGTON POST, Michael Brune , 4 May 12, Odds are that you haven’t heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. And even if you’ve heard of it, I’m willing to bet you don’t know what might be in it. That’s because, although this massive new trade agreement could have profound implications for our environment, our health, and the rights of workers, it is being negotiated in almost complete secrecy.

The Sierra Club has worked on trade policy for nearly two decades for one simple reason: trade rules have a huge impact on environmental protections. …. when the United States and eight other Pacific Rim countries meet in Dallas later this month to finalize the TPP, which they’re calling a “21st-century trade agreement,” we’ll be there, too. We want the negotiators to know: We are deeply concerned about both the process and the direction of these talks……..
virtually every free trade agreement we’ve negotiated since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has contained language that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability. The sole exception is our free trade agreement with Australia — because the Australian government refused to allow its laws to be attacked by foreign corporations.
That was smart, because corporations have been quick to take advantage of this ability to attack a country’s laws and protections. By the end of 2011, corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill) had brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries. Many of those cases directly targeted environmental and other public interest laws. ….

unless we change how these agreements are negotiated, the TPP will certainly follow this same, deeply flawed model, which grants unprecedented rights to corporations. A true “21st-century trade agreement” should be looking to rein in corporate power — not expand it. And it certainly shouldn’t be negotiated in total secrecy behind closed doors.The first step toward ensuring that we don’t end up with a flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership is to bring these negotiations into the light of day. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” In Dallas, we’ll deliver a petition, signed by thousands of Sierra Club members and supporters, that calls on the United States to publicly release all TPP proposals. Please add your name and tell the U.S. Trade Representative:  We deserve to know exactly what it is that trade negotiators are proposing in our name.   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brune/what-are-they-trying-to-h_b_1478213.html

May 5, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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