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13 September, 2012AMWU and IAMAW raise concerns about the loss of government powers to act in the people’s interest as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is entering the 14th round of negotiations in Virginia, USA this week, 6 to 15 September.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) - a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, the USA and Vietnam – expected to be finalized by the end of 2012 is much more than a trade agreement.
IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates are outraged that the negotiations are taking place in secrecy with no public access to the proposed text. What information is available makes it clear that the TPPA is focusing on issues such as intellectual property rights and imposing conditions that will override domestic laws in areas such as health, the environment, workplace safety and investment.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is calling on its members to contact Australian government ministers to reject proposals that would:
- Give corporations the right to sue governments over health and environmental regulation
- Prevent governments from providing subsidized generic brand medicines
- Give increased rights to patent and copyright holders at the expense of consumers
- Reduce Australian content in government purchasing and audio-visual media
- Remove labeling from genetically engineered food
Equally concerned about the impact of the TPPA in the US, the International Association of Machinists (IAMAW) is warning its members that, just like NAFTA, the TPPA has the potential to destroy hundreds of thousands of US jobs, erode workers’ rights, undermine "Buy American" laws and override environmental protections.
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