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The most important trade agreement you've never heard of

Who's afraid of the TPP? The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is a deal currently being negotiated between 12 countries, including Australia - and currently, drafts leaked to media suggest that there's a lot to be afraid of. The Abbott Government can still refine or reject parts of the deal that aren't in the public interest; but without public pressure, there's little hope of hearing about, much less putting a stop to, the devil in the detail. Use this page to contact your MP and ask them to speak out against the TPP.

11,000 SumOfUs members took the time to write to the government and tell them that we don't want them signing up to an international trade deal that signs us up to secret courts. Turns out the Commission are so overwhelmed with those responses, they are saying they only received 121. To get our message across we need to make sure we tell them again and again why we don't want this dangerous trade deal and all that is being negotiated with it.

For starters, the TPP could:
  • Allow foreign corporations to sue our government if they believe their profits are being adversely affected by laws or policies passed in our national interest (such as to protect our farms, land and water);
  • Lead to dramatically higher cost of medicines
  • Permit Australian citizens to be prosecuted by the United States – and even thrown in jail – for downloading TV shows from certain sites online.

You don't need to be an expert on trade agreements to write to your MP on this issue. As a constituent, you have a right to ask questions about where your MP stands.

Here are some questions you might ask:

    What's your position on the Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement?
  • Will your party reject Australia becoming a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement?
  • Would you reject the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?
Your MP won't necessarily get to vote on this issue - but that makes it even more important for them to speak up about where they stand.
Here's an example of some concerns you could raise and questions you could ask:

I'm concerned that if the Trans-pacific Trade Agreement goes ahead, and Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses are included, this could pose a threat to state and federal governments' sovereignty and ability to autonomously make regulations that protect our food, our water and our land.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses would grant foreign corporations the right to to be able to litigate against our governments, if they suspect that it might influence their ability to make profits in the future. We don't want to live in a country where a foreign-owned mining company has the right to sue our government simply for strengthening environmental regulations that protect our farms, our land and our water.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently undergoing negotiations between 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

If the trade agreement includes Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, it could mean that foreign-owned companies will have the power to sue the Australian Government for decisions they feel may unfairly impact on their investments in Australia.

Think it couldn't happen here? This is already being seen in the case of Phillip Morris, which is using an ISDS provision in the Australian-Hong Kong treaty to sue the Australian Government over its plain-packaging laws.

When Quebec placed a ban on dangerous fracking processes in a local river, a trade agreement similar to the TPP made it possible for a foreign-owned energy company to file a $250 million lawsuit against the Canadian government.

It's already happening in El Salvador, where a Canadian company is suing the Latin American government for $315 million in "loss of future profits" because local citizens won a hard-fought campaign against a gold mine that threatened to contaminate their water supplies.

It's happening in Argentina, where the government imposed a freeze on water and energy bills during the GFC and was sued by an international utilities company.

It's even happening in Canada, where American pharmaceutical Eli Lilly is demanding $500 million in compensation -- as well as changes to Canadian patent laws -- because courts revoked two of its patents for lack of evidence around the drugs' supposed benefits.

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