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Unions Renew Calls To Stop Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations

Labor unions are renewing their calls to end to an ongoing international trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has most recently been scrutinized by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the Guardian reports.

The ITUC, the world’s largest trade union federation, and the ACTU sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the other eleven government leaders involved in the agreement to stop negotiations immediately.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation, “This secretive trade deal is good for some multinational corporations, but deeply damaging to ordinary people and the very role of governments.”

Burrow went on to say, “Corporate interests are at the negotiating table, but national parliaments and other democratic actors are being kept in the dark.  What we do know, much of it through leaks, is that this proposed deal is not about ensuring better livelihoods for people, but about giving multinational companies a big boost to profits.”

She added, “Governments should shut down the negotiations, and not re-open them unless they get genuine and transparent public mandates at home that put people’s interest in the centre.”

After reviewing leaked excerpts of TPP negotiations, the labor groups said they found controversial clauses within the agreement that they believe could cost the jobs of their members.

For example, the union fears the Investor State Dispute Clause (ISDS) could help multinationals to undermine social policies within a country. They are also concerned that the Patent Protections clause could make medicines more expensive.

These labor groups also said they want the agreement to take climate change into account.

“If this deal was as good as Mr. Abbott says it is, he would be out telling workers all about it–but he isn’t,” ACTU president Ged Kearney declared in a statement provided to TheDCNF.

Though the last round of negotiations was held this past August, Abbott discussed the TPP with President Obama during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Monday night.

The president took the time to praise the agreement, saying it could “spur greater economic growth, spur greater jobs growth, set high standards for trade and investment throughout the Asia Pacific.”

The TPP currently involves 12 countries which include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam and aims to expand trade and investment in different regions.

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