Reject TPP dispute settlement: ALP

Herald Sun, Melbourne

Reject TPP dispute settlement: ALP

By Fergus Ryan and AFP

15 May 2015

Labor has called on the federal government to follow the example of the Howard years and oppose the inclusion of a controversial dispute-settlement provision in trade talks with the US.

Shadow trade minister Penny Wong says accepting Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement could jeopardise domestic policies in areas ranging from healthcare to the environment.

“Trade Minister Andrew Robb should explain why he is willing to accept ISDS provisions in the TPP when the Howard Government would not accept them in the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement,” Senator Wong said in a statement today.

“ISDS provisions in the TPP could allow multinationals to challenge Australian policies designed to protect public welfare in international arbitration tribunals," Ms Wong said.

A classified document released by WikiLeaks in March revealed that US-led negotiating parties want to establish ISDS courts where foreign firms could sue states and obtain taxpayer compensation for expected future profits, overruling the court systems of individual countries.

ISDS tribunals are also part of the vast trade pact the US is negotiating with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The cover page of the leaked document said the document "is supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations"