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Trade time bombs: The dangers of ‘harmonisation’

George, A. (2015) Trade time bombs: The dangers of ‘harmonisation’. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69 (5). pp. 468-472.

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Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) the level of concern it generated among some community sectors has broadened as other preferential agreements have emerged, not least the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The AUSFTA established obligations far beyond the scope of traditional bilateral deals—as many articles in this Special Issue have noted. Its critics claim that this Agreement placed Australia on a trajectory that fundamentally undermines our sovereignty, or more specifically our ability to legislate to protect our nation’s economic, social and environmental wellbeing. But these outcomes are not so easily identified. Many of the embedded rights, obligations, dispute and consultative mechanisms accorded to the foreign government and its corporations under the AUSFTA may remain passive into the future—but still implementable.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: Australian Institute of International Affairs
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