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The Abbott governments rush to sign bilateral trade deals with countries including Japan has meant quality has been sacrificed. Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia’s trade negotiating strategy fundamentally flawed

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
A green trade deal would encourage the development of renewable energy in big carbon emitters such as China. Kaj17/Flickr

Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens a green trade deal

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
It’s not yet clear how the Coalition will weigh health issues against economic priorities. jdwfoto/Shutterstock

Coalition’s policy bodes ill for health in free trade negotiations

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Debt; dollar; deficit - the mantra for this year, amid a turbulent political period. AAP

2013, the year that was: Business and Economy

Debt. Dollar. Deficits. Three little words so close to the hearts of our contributors in a year dominated by a critical federal election, a waning mining boom and continuing international turbulence. The…
Trade ministers from countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership failed to finalise the deal at the recent Singapore meeting. EPA/How Hwee Young

Update from the latest Trans Pacific Partnership meeting

Just before leaving for Singapore on December 6 for the latest Trans Pacific Partnership meeting, I wrote about some of the major concerns surrounding the secretive agreement. This is an update on developments…
Representatives from Japan, New Zealand, and the United States at the start of the Trans-Pacific Partnership summit on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali, on October 8, 2013. EPA/BARBARA WALTON

What you need to know about the Trans Pacific Partnership

Expect to hear a lot about the Trans Pacific Partnership in the next few days. As it moves into final stages of negotiations, outrage over some of its more onerous provisions is ramping up around the world…
The intellectual property changes proposed by the United States won’t benefit poor countries party to the agreement. Virginia Guard Public Affairs/Flickr

US concessions don’t give Trans Pacific partners access to drugs

In the next few days, 12 Pacific Rim countries will make critical decisions about what is potentially the most damaging trade agreement for public health ever signed. The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement…
There are doubts provisions will benefit copyright holders. AAP/Lukas Coch

Trade pact would make internet services more expensive

Last week Michael Froman, a US trade representative, took his son touring around the Paramount lot in Hollywood to visit a sound mixing stage, watch a movie and pose for happy snaps with company executives…
The leaked IP chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations reflects a highly prescriptive set of rules that if adopted would prove harmful to Australia. voteprime/Flickr

IP trade negotiations a prescription for harm

Trade Minister Andrew Robb has responded to last week’s leak of the intellectual property chapter negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing Australia won’t agree to anything that would “force…
Concern over the transparency of TPP negotiations grew after it was revealed negotiating documents could not be released until four years after the completion of the negotiations. Azhar Rahim/AAP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Australia’s right to know

In the history of trade agreement negotiations, most have been undertaken in secret, justified on the grounds that the governments’ negotiating positions would be weakened if they became public. But this…
Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Eschipul

Beware, secret trade deals can seriously damage your health

If I asked you to name some of the current threats to your health, “international trade law” probably wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue. Yet trade agreements, and the way we negotiate them, can affect…
What is the best trade option for Australia’s future? AAP/Alex Ibanez

Multilateral, regional, bilateral: which agreement is best?

One of the first acts of Tony Abbott’s government was to declare it intended to “embrace free trade” in its first term in office. Calling the trade minister Australia’s “ambassador for jobs”, the Coalition…
By allowing ISDS clauses in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Australia could be opening the door to more legal challenges from corporations. mattyp_/Flickr

When trade agreements threaten sovereignty: Australia beware

The leaking of a key Trans-Pacific Partnership document by Wikileaks this week suggests Australia may side with the US on some key issues including the insertion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement…
Protestors picket the last round of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations in Malaysia, as concerns about secrecy and the agreement’s contents grow. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Regional trade pact puts Australia in ‘absurd’ position, say experts

The public’s intellectual property rights will continue to be impeded if Australia signs on to the Trans Pacific Partnership…
The new government faces sorting out a complex mess of stalled talks on various free trade agreements. AAP

Why embracing free trade may be more complicated than it looks

If headlines are to be believed, the new Coalition government is set to “embrace free trade” in its first term in office. In announcing his new Ministry last week, Tony Abbott has made significant changes…
Giving overseas investors more power over our energy resources is no way to ensure security or emissions reductions. Ross Beckley

Will a new government hand control of our energy to overseas investors?

As we approach the Australian federal election, trade minister Richard Marles recently confirmed Australia will not sign the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement if it includes an investor-state dispute…
The finer points of Abenomics are not lost on this guy. ippei-janine

Japan’s PM has frog in throat as ecological crisis looms

Japanese PM Shinzō Abe has a problem, and he might end up killing an awful lot of frogs to solve it. Shares are up in Japan, but everything else has flatlined: kick-starting the stubbornly moribund economy…

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