Trans-Pacific Partnership favours US corporations

After years of secrecy Australians are now able to read the text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. One of the key concerns for our democracy is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, which allow our country to be sued for policies that harm foreign business interests.

Despite the claims of Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment, there is no exemption for public health from ISDS litigation. Article 9.15 of the investment chapter explicitly makes such matters dependent on their conformity with the TPP itself:
"Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent a Party from adopting, maintaining or enforcing any measure otherwise consistent with this Chapter that it considers appropriate to ensure that investment activity in its territory is undertaken in a manner sensitive to environmental, health or other regulatory objectives."
That is, unless Australian health regulations are consistent with the TPP, they can be subject to a lawsuit brought about by a multinational corporation under ISDS.

The result will be that corporations will pursue litigation and add to their statement of claims that the policy change they are seeking compensation for is inconsistent with the TPP.

Australian policy will be further limited by the annex on expropriation, meant as a guide to what can be the subject of ISDS processes:
"Non-discriminatory regulatory actions by a Party that are designed and applied to protect legitimate public welfare objectives, such as public health, safety and the environment, do not constitute indirect expropriations, except in rare circumstances."
The TPP is an assault on Australian democracy. Once again I ask that our local member Michael McCormack ensures that the Productivity Commission are able to review and report on the text of this agreement in advance of it becoming law.