Trans-Pacific Partnership is biased towards US

Updated: 2011-11-13 13:45


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CANBERRA - Australian Greens deputy leader Christine Milne on Sunday said the recently announced Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is biased towards the United States.

US President Barack Obama announced that the leaders of nine Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries have reached a broad agreement on the free-trade pact, TPP, which sets out to eliminate all tariffs and introduce new uniform labor and intellectual property standards across the Asia-Pacific.

Milne said the US is using a new trade deal to get what it missed out on in a bilateral free trade agreement.

"The United States, which is driving this agenda, is coming back to get what it didn't succeed in getting through the US-Australia free trade agreement," Senator Milne said in a statement on Sunday.

Despite US demands for secrecy, Milne said the Greens urged Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard to release the negotiating text for the TPP being discussed at the APEC meeting, as leaked documents showed US pharmaceutical and tobacco companies were making big demands and other threatened areas included agriculture and local content rules in film and television.

"The prime minister must immediately release the negotiating text so that all Australians can see exactly what is under threat," she said. "The fact that the US is insisting it be kept secret is of great concern."

She said the Greens, who holds balance of power in parliament, will try to ensure parliament can scrutinize any deal made.

However, Gillard earlier said the agreement will benefit Australia's entire economy, particularly primary producers.

"For our farmers this is a very important development," she said.

The nine APEC leaders from Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US and Vietnam, aim to finalize the TPP deal next year.