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Oz trade minister: TPP will happen in 2015

House Democrats not so sure

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Australia's trade minister Andrew Robb has refined his understanding of when the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership will be finalised, putting the deadline somewhere in the first half of 2015.

Robb, who in January said the deal would be finalised “soon”, now sees the US electoral cycle as putting a boundary around the negotiations.

It is unlikely that a deal could be finalised in 2014, Robb told a conference at the US Studies Centre in Canberra that if the treaty isn't completed by the first half of 2015, it'll “run into the politics of the next presidential election”, the Associated Press reports.

This year, he said, is “out”, even though the negotiations are “80 per cent of the way” completed.

However, by 2015 he said, “I think we'll be there more or less with the content, it's then just the politics”.

If Robb is correct it means the TPP's controversial measures such making internet service providers liable for their users' copyright infringements will soon come into force across the USA, Japan, Australia and other parties to the treaty.

Or we think such measures will come into force: the TPP is being negotiated in secret, a fact that rankles with many.

One source of opposition is the president of Communication Workers of America Larry Cohen, who notes over at Huff Po that at the end of May, 153 House Democrats co-signed a letter warning that the TPP lacks worker protections, highlighting Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Mexico as having “lengthy histories of violating workers’ rights”.

The text, here, also says “Reports from the Departments of Labor and State show major abuses of human and worker’s rights in the aforementioned countries, including: forced labor and child labor; pregnancy and gender-based discrimination; health and safety hazards; excessive working hours; and inadequate wages.”

Twelve nations are involved in the treaty: United States, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. ®

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