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Oz Government: TPP papers will stay secret

First we sign, then you see

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Australians interested in knowing just what's going to be in the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership agreement will have to hope someone leaks the latest text, with the government resisting last week's Senate order to produce the documents.

According to Fairfax, the government says the treaty text will only be made public after it's been signed.

However, the government's trade minister Andrew Robb did concede to the newspaper that the TPP's contentious investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) processes, which allow corporations to sue governments over local regulations, would be supported if the TPP gave Australia “access to markets including those of the US, Japan and Canada” (this seems odd to The Register, considering that Australia has standing free trade agreements with America and Canada, and is currently negotiating a similar agreement with Japan).

Robb also said the ISDS provisions would have carve-outs for “public welfare, health and the environment”.

That could leave other areas like copyright stranded: the last TPP text to be leaked has provisions that are contrary to current Australian law in things like parallel importation (the treaty is hostile to the so-called “grey market”, but it's legal in Australia), and technological protection measures (TPMs – some circumventions are legal in Australia, such as getting past purely geographical protections on legally-purchased material). ®

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