Parliamentary Committee releases report into Australia's Trade Negotiations

May 1, 2024

On 1 May 2024, The Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth released its report into Australia’s approach to the negotiation of trade and investment agreements, the effect of agreements on stakeholders and how benefits of trade are shared. The Report makes the following 8 recommendations:

Recommendation 1: That the Australian Government require an independent review, including modelling and analysis, to be undertaken on each proposed or under review trade and investment agreement.

Recommendation 2: That the Australian Government establish a consistent approach to assessing and reviewing trade and investment agreements. This should include impact analyses of the economic, social, and environmental implications of agreements to assist the Government to make decisions in the national interest.

Recommendation 3: That the trade advisory committee and cleared advisors (Interim Report recommendation 1) be provided with the outcomes of the independent modelling and analysis (recommendation 1) as well as the impact assessment (recommendation 2) to improve transparency and the depth of stakeholder consultation in the negotiation of trade and investment agreements.

Recommendation 4: That the Australian Government seek to include human rights, labour and environmental chapters in its trade agreements that reflect, and where appropriate contain specific references to, relevant United Nations and International Labour Organization conventions and declarations to which Australia is a signatory.

Recommendation 5: That the Australian Government should seek to not include provisions in trade and investment agreements that waive labour market and skills testing or include investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions.

Recommendation 6: That the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) consult with stakeholders in emerging technologies on proposed provisions in trade agreements to ensure that the ability of future governments to regulate such technologies in the public interest is not limited.

Recommendation 7: That the Australian Government consider the inclusion of provisions that protect and promote Australian First Nations intellectual property in its bilateral trade negotiation framework.

Recommendation 8: That the Australian Government establish a legislative framework for the negotiation of Australia’s trade and investment agreements.

You can read the final report HERE.

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