Thu Jan 9, 2014, 09:26 PM
FreakinDJ (17,515 posts)
Free trade not a licence to rip off Australia - "See were not the only ones getting Fucked"
Free trade not a licence to rip off Australia
Australians have long known that multinational corporations' regional pricing tactics deny them a fair price for many consumer products. We did not need a federal parliamentary inquiry to confirm we pay far too much for medicines, computer software and hardware, movies, music and computer games, as well as old-fashioned books. Still, in July, the inquiry called for an end to the market manipulation. It is alarming, then, that leaked details of a draft treaty among a dozen Pacific nations suggest Australia is not strongly resisting pressure to rewrite trade rules to enforce regional disparities.
The Age believes in free and fair trade. We also condemn the pirating of copyrighted or patented products. This is theft from the creators of intellectual property, which discourages further product development and innovation. But the draft of a Trans Pacific Partnership shows the US favours trade rules that will help multinational companies to continue charging more for consumer technology products in certain markets such as ours. The inquiry found we pay 42 to 66 per cent more than people overseas for software and hardware; about 60 per cent more for music downloads; and two to four times as much for computer games.
Intellectual property law expert Matthew Rimmer says the draft has ''little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests''. Australians elect their governments to put their interests first. Prime Minister Tony Abbott hopes a deal will be reached next month, yet consultation has been limited to ''industry sectors that could be impacted by the agreement''. The affected consumers, the vast majority of us, would be in the dark if not for WikiLeaks. Journalists were barred from industry briefings on the next round of talks starting this week.
The draft treaty's leaked details suggest a possible motive: in only one area is Australia clearly opposing US and Japanese trade interests. That is pharmaceuticals, for which the Commonwealth pays about $20 billion a year. The US is seeking ways to extend patents, which would restrict production of cheaper generic drugs.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/free-trade-not-a-licence-to-rip-off-australia-20131117-2xp5n.html#ixzz2pxF950pq
See Australians don't like getting Screwed any more then the 99% do
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