Hong Kong FTA

Overview

Australia and Hong Kong launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement in May 2017. 

Hong Kong already had zero tariffs levels on Australian goods exports, so this agreement was mainly about services, investment and “non-tariff barriers.”Australia already had a bilateral investment treaty with Hong Kong (1993), which included investor rights to sue governments (ISDS). This was the treaty that Philip Morris used to sue the Australian Government over the cigarette plain packaging laws.

Economist argues against Australia joining trade deals that undermine sovereignty

October 31, 2019: A new article by Richard Denniss, chief economist at The Australia Institute, argues against Australia signing free trade agreements that undermine our sovereignty. Denniss calls out the hypocrisy of the Morrison government that has ratcheted up populist rhetoric while signing up to agreements that grant excessive rights to international investors at the expense of the Australian community.

Media Release: AFTINET fears that assurances sought by Labor will not prevent harmful impacts from Indonesia and other trade deals

October 17, 2019: Media Release “Labor has decided to approve the enabling legislation for the Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru agreements despite the fact that they contain damaging provisions that are contrary Labor policies, in return for some fairly weak assurances from the government that may not be delivered,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

ACTU polling reveals community opposition to trade agreements that undermine workers’ rights and government sovereignty

October 9, 2019: Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) polling in the seats of Bass, Brand, Corio, Hunter and Rankin reveals 75 - 80 per cent of voters oppose trade agreements that allow additional work visas without first testing if local workers can fill available jobs and that include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that give corporations the right to sue governments for policy decisions that impact on their profit.

MPs consider delay in trade agreement ratification amidst concerns about human rights abuses in Hong Kong

September 5, 2019: Concern about human rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong could lead to a delay in the ratification of the Hong Kong trade and investment agreements. This comes after civil society and Union groups, including AFTINET and the ACTU, called on the government to delay voting on the implementing legislation for the agreements until after the human rights situation was resolved.

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