The AMWU has said that free trade talks reportedly underway in Washington between Australia and 11 other countries should be handled with caution.
In a statement, the AMWU said that negotiations on Investor-State Dispute Settlements and Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreements were a major test for the new government, and the ISDS provisions – which allow corporations to sue states – should be flatly rejected.
“Free trade agreements generally promise much and deliver little,” said the AMWU’s Andrew Dettmer in a statement.
“They usually come at the price of lost jobs and threatened industries.
“A US mining company is using the ISDS provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue the Québec provincial government of Canada for $250 million because it dared to have an environmental review of shale oil mining – we cannot allow this type of thing to happen in Australia”
Dettmer said that he supported the government’s decision to nominate a manufacturing representative for the TPPA talks, he criticised what he called a lack of transparency.
“Who is this person representing?” he asked.
“Who do they report to? What mandate have they been given and by whom?
“We remain highly sceptical of these free trade negotiations as do the Australian people.”