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The dirtiest deal you've never heard of

For years, there's been negotiations behind closed doors for a new trade deal that would span countries bordering the Asia-Pacific, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, as well as several countries in Latin America and Asia. The deal is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – or "TPP" for short.

The TPP agenda is primarily being driven by big business, big pharmaceuticals and big tobacco – but its impacts will affect everyday Australians.

Between foreign corporations suing our governments over public health measures and environmental protection laws, higher prices for medicine, and surveillance of Australians' internet usage, there's a lot for citizens to be concerned about.

What we do know from leaked parts of the agreement is terrifying. But most Australians haven't even heard about the TPP. That's why we need to sound the alarm now, and sound it loudly.

Can you sign the petition calling on our politicians not to sign our rights away?

Want to know more about the TPP?

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 that adversely impact on their investments in Australia. Worst of all, these cases would be played out in private international courts which only corporations have access to.

For more on the potential dangers of ISDS provisions, see ABC Radio National's story here.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (or "TPP" as it's known) is a major trade deal being negotiated by Australian and 11 other countries. If agreed to, the deal would account for 800 million people and 40 per cent of the world's economy – making it one of the world's largest trade deals.

Australia joined the TPP negotiations in 2011 under the Gillard Government, and negotiations have since continued under the Abbott Government, which have been largely led by the US.

The 12 negotiating countries include: Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Mexico, and Peru.
This is already being seen in the case of tobacco giant 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 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 company 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.

For more on the potential dangers of ISDS provisions, see ABC Radio National's story here.
The treaty gives global pharmaceutical companies far-reaching power to extend their patents in order to prevent or delay the manufacture of cheaper generic medicines and curb subsidy programs that keep drugs more affordable in Australia and elsewhere. Imagine having to pay $50-$100 - or more - for a simple asthma inhaler. That's the average cost in the US, when they currently sell for less than $10 here.
...and dob you in for possible copyright infringement. We all know piracy is illegal, but this treaty gives US companies the power to pull strings that could make heavy-handed spying, fines, internet service disconnection and even criminal charges the norm for even the most minor and potentially unintentional infringements. And what about privacy?
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. We really don't need foreign-owned mining companies bullying our government or preventing us from protecting our land.

For more information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, click here to read the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network's (AFTINET) explainer.

SOUND THE ALARM!

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SIGN THE PETITION

To the members and senators of the Australian Parliament,

We call on you to stand up for Australian democracy and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership.




132,136 signatures