Briefings CSOs raise concerns about Australia deal


CSOs raise concerns about Australia deal

Eighteen civil society organisations have today written to Anne-Marie Trevelyan to raise concerns about the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement that was signed this morning.

The letter raises particular concerns about the likely impact of the deal on climate action - particularly worrying given that the UK retains the COP presidency until the end of next year. Australia is a well-known climate laggard, with serious issues in relation to the clearance of forest for cattle farming and the influence of mining lobbies which has halted progress on climate policy.

Organisations are concerned about the impact of the deal on UK standards, in particular food standards and animal welfare. Chapters on the environment, animal welfare and development are non-binding, unlike the other provisions of the deal.

Organisations welcome the exclusion of ISDS, however the deal still contains an investment chapter with many of the same problematic provisions that can be found in other investment chapters. There is also the risk that the exclusion is rendered meaningless if both countries are covered by the ISDS provisions in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Finally, the letter calls for a thorough process of public and parliamentary scrutiny. It appears there will be a nine to twelve month window to analyse the deal, which is more than had been anticipated. Organisations hope that the government will use this time to undertake meaningful consultation. However it remains the case that there is no guarantee of a debate or binding vote for parliamentarians.

The full letter is available here.


UK-Australia FTA climate change Scrutiny