Surprise: Now Even Australia's Biggest Business Organization Says It Has Doubts About TPP

from the anyone-still-support-it?-anyone??? dept

As Techdirt has reported, the few studies into the economic impact of TPP that exist show that there is likely to be vanishingly small benefit for most countries. The Australian Council of Trade Unions, representing 1.6 million workers in Australia, is not impressed with the deal, and has just called for TPP to be rejected, according to the Guardian:

“The TPP puts globalisation before Australian workers, threatens the fundamentals of our democracy and drives up health costs,” [ACTU?s director of policy] Tkalcevic said. “By destroying thousands of Australian jobs and driving down wages we believe the TPP will lead to higher levels of inequality.

The TPP is a toxic combination of more power to multinationals ahead of democracy and globalisation ahead of Australian workers.”

It would be easy to dismiss this as typical left-wing anti-big business rhetoric. But the same could hardly be said about the following:

Australia’s biggest business organisation has distanced itself from claims the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and be a “gigantic foundation stone” for Australia’s future.

As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, when the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) spoke before a Parliamentary commission, it was particularly critical about the nature of the TPP deal, and the lack of in-depth, independent economic analysis:

ACCI argued the agreement did not mandate free trade and had not been assessed by an independent authority such as the Productivity Commission.

The business organization also criticized the opacity of the trade negotiations:

“With the exception of some relatively superficial information on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, it is difficult to know the detail of what is being negotiated in our national interest,” [ACCI’s director of trade] Mr Clark said.

It even went so far as to worry about “regulatory chill”:

the chamber wanted the inquiry to note that the deal would “further complicate compliance and costs for business” and had not been subjected to an independent Australian economic analysis.

It should also be concerned about the potential for “regulatory chill” from the clauses that would prevent further liberalisation of Australia’s intellectual property and labour laws after it had been ratified.

When a country’s top business association offers criticism in more or less the same terms as anti-TPP activists, maybe it’s time to think twice about ratifying a deal that still lacks any credible justification.

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Companies: acci, australian chamber of commerce and industry

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Comments on “Surprise: Now Even Australia's Biggest Business Organization Says It Has Doubts About TPP”

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11 Comments
Craig Welch (profile) says:

IP 'liberalisation'

It should also be concerned about the potential for "regulatory chill" from the clauses that would prevent further liberalisation of Australia’s intellectual property and labour laws after it had been ratified.

How did the word ‘further’ get in there? There hasn’t been any liberalisation of Australia’s IP or labour laws in recent times, with IP laws in particular being tightened up as a result of AUSFTA (Australia – US Free Trade Agreement).

Anonymous Coward says:

This article is really unclear; it begins with something irrelevant to the title and then jumps to a completely different entity.

The ACTU is a worker’s union. It has nothing to do with business councils or anything else. I don’t even know why TechDirt bothered including it. For reference though, the media release is at:
http://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2016/government-must-back-away-from-tpp-or-risk-39-000-local-jobs

The ACCI is the "business organisation."

Please update the article to make it clearer.

Not that the distinguishment really matters. The Australian government won’t be listening to the ACTU, the ACCI or anything else that doesn’t agree with its mandate.

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