Senate Inquiry report confirms CPTPP a bad deal for women

Today’s Senate Inquiry report on CPTPP acknowledges that the controversial trade deal poses a significant risk to women’s rights and economic empowerment in the region.  


The Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee released its report today following its Inquiry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, also known as TPP-11), a deal that has come under fire from women’s organisations due to its potential to undermine gender equality and women’s rights. The report recommends greater transparency and that gender impacts be considered for current and future trade agreements, but stops short of recommending the deal should not proceed.

Women’s rights organisation ActionAid Australia has welcomed these inclusions in the Senate Inquiry findings, and is calling on the Senate to block the implementation of the CPTPP because it poses a significant risk to women’s rights and economic empowerment in the region.

“The Senate Inquiry has confirmed today what women’s organisations have been saying for years: the CPTPP was and still is a discriminatory deal, and a danger to women’s rights and gender equality,” said Michelle Higelin, ActionAid Australia Executive Director.

According to Ms Higelin, while the recommendations are promising, implementing the CPTPP in Australia is inconsistent with the Australian Government’s commitments to achieve gender equality and uphold women’s rights. She warns that millions of women in low income countries will see gender inequalities exacerbated under the agreement.

“It doesn’t matter which way you slice it, without a strong stance on gender – this trade deal is neither comprehensive nor progressive. If it goes ahead, this gender-blind deal will exacerbate existing gender inequalities for women living in poverty around the world, and fundamentally shifts power to corporations at the expense of women’s rights and economic justice.”

“The worst aspects of the TPP are still included in the CPTPP: if it proceeds it will put downward pressure on women’s wages, undermine their rights at work, and erode public services essential for gender equality like health and access to justice by driving privatisation. And, perhaps most outrageously, if governments attempt to take back control, it establishes the right of corporations to sue under the Investor-State Settlement Dispute (ISDS) Mechanism. It is good to see that the Senate Inquiry has recommended that this dangerous clause be removed.

“ActionAid Australia is calling on the Senate to block this discriminatory deal, and for the Government to commit to implementing the Senate’s recommendation to undertake gender impact assessments for any future trade deals.”

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