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Analysis and Comment (28)

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…
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…
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated as we speak, but inventors and internet users look to lose out. Ian.Go

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: a knockout blow for innovation?

Free trade: it sounds good for innovation, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily - and here’s why. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement under negotiation among various Pacific Rim…
A Trans Pacific Partnership meeting hosted by US President Barack Obama with the Sultan of Brunei and prime ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia , Singapore and Vietnam, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 20, 2012. AAP Image/Auspic, David Foote

Trans Pacific Partnership puts member countries' health at risk

International trade agreements bring new transnational food companies into countries, along with new food advertising and promotion. This has often led to an increase in unhealthy foods entering the domestic…
The decision by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to enter into the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations enlivens the process and places Australia in the passenger seat.

Trans-Pacific Partnership at the frontlines of new geo-economic contests

Two recent events promise to breath life into the lumbering Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, with significant consequences for Australia. Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo…
The case of Aaron Swartz has put punitive intellectual property enforcement provisions under the spotlight. Flickr

Aaron’s Army fights the Trans-Pacific Partnership

In light of the death of internet activist Aaron Swartz, there is a need to reconsider intellectual property enforcement standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific…
Obama has unveilled two key trade treaties designed to reaffirm America’s place as the world’s leading nation - but many aspects of the treaties run counter to its social development stances.

The two treaties: Obama, trade, and the State of the Union

US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union plan to boost American exports and grow American jobs centres around two key regional trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic…
The High Court has ruled the enforcing plain packaging is constitutionally legal. AAP/Lukas Coch

The Olive Revolution: Australia’s plain packaging leads the world

After much political debate, the Australian Parliament passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth). Australian legislators, such as Richard di Natale, provided moving accounts for the need for plain…
The Federal Government’s plain packaging legislation has been emblematic of how a foreign investor’s right to sue governments can be abused. So why is ACCI’s new campaign ignoring some important facts? AAP

ACCI’s right to sue campaign not supported by the facts

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has apparently decided that it is up in arms over a Gillard government policy announced more than a year ago. In April 2011, the federal government…
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Julia Gillard are at loggerheads over the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. AAP

A dangerous investment: Australia, New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

This week, San Diego is hosting the latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are at loggerheads over this secretive new trade treaty spanning the Pacific Rim…
Strategic friendships: will Australia’s decision to sign up to Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement impact on our relationship with China? AAP

A ‘zhengyou’ to China? Signing with Obama on trade puts this friendship to the test

The task of simultaneously negotiating our traditional security and cultural ties with the US, and our burgeoning economic relationship with China, can justifiably be described as the “great foreign policy…

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