Deregulation of Food Standards:
The TPP has the goal of harmonising domestic policy requirements affecting trade and investment across the countries involved. So how do you harmonize the food or product standards of Vietnam and Australia? Three guesses! The TPP means that Australia's standards will go out the window.
With the slogan of FREE TRADE, the TPP removes the ability of the Australian Government to set standards on things we import. These regulations are seen as nothing but an artificial restraint on trade. The philosophy behind this is that it is the job of the consumer not the "nanny state" - to choose what to buy. Let the buyer beware. This may not mean that the standards for Australian made food would be removed. Rather these standards would be deemed not to apply to imported goods.
For example some Vietnamese seafood has been found to contain E. coli, antibiotic residues, and microbial contamination. An Australian company could not legally sell this in Australia. However the TPP would forbid the government from blocking its sale in Australia if they meet Vietnamese standards.
Deregulation of Dangerous Products:
The push for deregulation will also destroy attempts to protect people from dangerous products. Consider the case of clothes deemed to be too flammable, or children's toys that are judged to be dangerous. If they are imported and they pass the standards in effect where they are made, it would be illegal under TPP rules to stop their sale in Australia.
One important public health strategy is to put restrictions on the sale of products which are known to contribute to non-communicable diseases like cancer and heart disease. For example Australia has regulations on the sale and advertizing of both tobacco and alcohol. The TPP would be used to remove these measures taken to protect public health. As with food safety standards, the TPP sees these as a restraint of trade. Philip Morris International has already attacked Australian and cigarette plain-packaging policy. The TPP would either prohibit such laws or force Australia to pay "compensation" to the companies who believed their profits have been decreased by such regulations.
The TPP would also enshrine the right of industry (both local and international) to forbid public health campaigns such as ones to reduce the consumption of foods with high fat or sugar content. This would forbid population-based efforts to prevent diseases using clear labelling of health risks, limitations on advertizing and price incentives to reduce consumption. In turn this would make diseases like diabetes and cancer much harder to control.
How can a company demand Australia pay compensation for regulation which they believe hinders their profits? This can be forced by what is called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This system of extreme corporate privilege is one of the central parts of the TPP. The ISDS provisions of the treaty authorize supra-national tribunals independent of any other judicial system to settle disputes between corporations and countries. Under the TPP, if a company believes an Australian law endangers its "expected future profits," it can take this dispute to an investor-state tribunal. This tribunal has the power to overrule Australian laws and levy fines against the Australian government.
Some things that have been banned by the powers given in treaties like the TPP:
country-of-origin meat labeling, and
ban on candy-flavored cigarettes, which is aimed at curbing youth smoking.
Such forced deregulation is a surrender of a nation's sovereignity, its power to frame and enforce legislation and policies.
There is no consideration of public interest under the ISDS system,
The ISDS system is totally beyond the usual democratic processes of elections, advocacy and public protest. How a robust democracy could even consider accepting such a system is incomprehensible.
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