Robb rubbishes AMA's secret trade scare
Trade Minister Andrew Robb has hinted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will be signed soon.
The secretive trade deal has been negotiated behind closed doors for several years, and now appears ready to enter the light.
From the small shreds of detail revealed by freedom advocates so far, the deal appears to include a range of measures that extend pharmaceutical patents and other intellectual property laws.
It also allows multi-national corporations to subvert national law and take legal action across borders.
“There is every prospect I think that within the next two months an agreement will be reached,” Federal Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb told ABC radio this morning.
“It is... a 21st Century, remarkable agreement, so hopefully we can get there in the next two months.
“If we don’t I think we’ll have to wait until after the US election,” he said.
Mr Robb rubbished the concerns of groups such as the Australian Medical Association, who say that giving drug-makers more protections will drive up the cost of vital programs like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
“There’s so much nonsense being peddled by anti-trade groups... they are just trying to frighten people about the prospects of freer trade,” Robb said.
“The industry itself, in Australia, is not expressing concerns.
“All of the industries in Australia have been consulted every step of the way about the state of negotiations in their sector.
“A lot of [the concern] driven by anti-trade groups within the ACTU [Australian Council of Trade Unions], we know that,” he said.
The Trade Minister said he thought the concern of the community was being “grossly over-stated” by the unions.
“This will be of enormous benefit to Australia in terms of jobs and growth for decades to come,“ he said.