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Robb rejects concerns TPP will tie govt up in lawsuits

NO ACTION: Trade Minister Andrew Robb.
NO ACTION: Trade Minister Andrew Robb. PETER PARKS

TRADE Minister Andrew Robb has rejected growing concerns the Trans Pacific Partnership could lead to massive legal fights against the Federal Government.

On Friday all governments in the deal released the full text of the huge, 12-nation pact, the first time the public has been able to read it since it was agreed to earlier this year.

The 12 nations, including Australia, Japan, Korea and the United States, have agreed but each nation will need to pass laws to bring it into effect.

No country can change the text of the agreement, and can only say yes or no.

Intellectual property and trade experts have voiced concerns provisions in the deal could lead to multi-national companies suing governments if they change policies on health or environmental issues.

But Mr Robb rejected those concerns, saying some "so-called expert(s)" were "jumping at shadows".

The complex, 30-chapter document details cutting tariffs and taxes between nations as well as protections for multinational intellectual property.

The Federal Government has previously faced an international legal battle with tobacco companies over plain packaging.

But Mr Robb has previously said such cases could not be brought and that protections would ensure Australia's environmental and health laws could not be challenged through the deal.

The agreement also faces an uphill battle in domestic politics in several countries, including the US, where President Barack Obama will struggle to convince Congress.

Topics:  andrew robb trans pacific partnership



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