(Greens-Media) Trade and democracy

Submitted by Editor on Thu, 26/08/2004 - 01:07

ACT Greens MLA Kerrie Tucker has argued that trade agreements, as they are currently made, are bad for communitiesand for local democracy, following today's tabling of the ACT Assembly's Public Accounts Committee's unanimous report on the impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and of the U. S. Free Trade Agreement.

Manderson, Roland



24 Aug 2004

"What is very clear from the majority of submissions to this inquiry is that there are serious concerns that the process of negotiation of trade deals is not open and transparent; that the process is not informed by adequate social and environmental analysis; and that the assurances that essential services are protected have not been tested" Committee member Ms Tucker said today.

Key recommendations of the PAC report include:

* no trade agreement on services proceed until there has been comprehensive independent research into the social and economic impact of them, including consultation at an early stage of negotiation, and public debate

* environmental and social expertise must be integrated in dispute settlement processes

* and that the ACT Government urgently communicate concerns raised in this inquiry about the AUSFTA to the Commonwealth Government.

"These agreements have an impact on how we manage our public services, and how we protect our communities and environment. In regard to the Australian US Free trade agreement, the protection of essential public services like health, education, water and quarantine, and of our cultural identity, remain a concern."

" Evidence to the Committee was clear that that once commitments have been made, they are effectively binding (regardless of negative social and environmental impacts) with both legal and monetary penalties and an inadequate disputes settlement process" Ms Tucker said.

Roland Manderson ACT Greens
Kerrie Tucker MLA's Office
ACT Legislative Assembly
GPO Box 1020 Canberra ACT 2601
6205 0161(ph) 041 224 1379 (m)
=== www.act.greens.org.au ====

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