TPPA framework shows leaders only listening to business

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The leaders' "framework" of where they consider the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) should head unfortunately shows they have been listening only to the concerns of business, and shown little concern to the voices of unions and other organisations says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg.

"Their statements show no sign they have recognised the dangers in further opening up the finance industry. There is no recognition of concerns in New Zealand, and internationally, about the effect of the TPPA on medicine prices, tobacco control and other health-related issues. They have confirmed they will give multinational corporations the right to sue governments, as tobacco giant Philip Morris is doing to the Australian government. Government procurement is going to be opened to competition from all TPPA countries and will be even harder to use to help local New Zealand firms. And foreign corporations will be given increased opportunities to influence government laws and regulations at the same time as ordinary New Zealanders are not even allowed to see the draft text of the agreement."

"Of particular concern for working people is the indication that the labour provisions will be weak and unenforceable. This will allow corporations to continue to use threats to bargain down working conditions, as Warner Brothers did. The contrast is stark. Corporations will be able to sue governments if their profits are threatened by government action in the country's interests. Working people will have no right to take enforceable action against companies giving themselves a trade advantage by abusing their employees' work rights."

In addition, the US wants to hamstring State-Owned Enterprises so that they cannot be used to help develop new export industries as Labour and the Greens are proposing.

The CTU will oppose this agreement unless it can be shown to be in New Zealand's best interests. It is currently going in entirely the wrong direction.

For Further information contact:

Georgina McLeod, Communications and Campaigns Advisor
027 501 6880 / 04 802 3817

Bill Rosenberg, Economist and Policy Director, CTU
021 637 991