An Australian parliamentary committee has issued a damning verdict on what it knows about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal currently being negotiated by 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the US, according to a Sputnik (Russia) story.
The Blind Agreement report by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee denounces the ‘all-or-nothing choice’ that parliament would be given to approve or reject a deal, the detail of which parliamentarians cannot examine until after the deal is finalized.
‘This does not provide an adequate level of oversight and scrutiny,’ the report said. ‘Parliament should play a constructive role during negotiations and not merely rubber-stamp agreements that have been negotiated behind closed doors.’
The only parts of the TPP drafts that have been made public so far have come to light via WikiLeaks.
The Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, a member of the committee that wrote the report and an outspoken critic of the TPP, was reported as saying that it was known from leaks that the TPP covered everything from giving the US the right to put Australian Internet users under surveillance, to giving multinational companies the rights to sue governments over the laws they make.
But it is specifically the provisions of the ‘investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, under which a corporation can sue democratically-elected governments over regulations they enact that form the basis of some of the strongest criticism of the TPP.
Ludlam said the ISDS provisions comprised a “Trojan horse” and cited the example of Philip Morris using ISDS clauses in a Hong Kong-Australia investment agreement to sue the Australian government over its introduction of plain packaging legislation.