China FTA

Free trade agreements not the great deal we've been sold

22 June 2016: Former deputy secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and High Commissioner in Canada Greg Wood writes that free trade agreements are not the great deal we've been sold.

He argues for less secrecy in trade negotiations and is critical of the China FTA, calling it a "rubbery document, lacking true reciprocity.” 

On the ISDS provisions in the TPP and other deals, he argues that the wording of claimed “carve outs” for health and environment open a "field day for lawyers”.

Read the full article in Fairfax Media here.

Xenophon: trade policy must change to support jobs and diverse economy

June 9, 2016: Senator Nick Xenophon writes in the Australian Financial Review that Australia's free trade agreements with the US, Japan, Korea and China have been badly negotiated and lopsided.  While those countries have kept the right to have local content in government procurement and other industry policies, Australia has traded these away. He argues for a  more balanced and strategic trade policy to support local employment.

Read the full article here.

China FTA Inquiry reports show Coalition, ALP and Greens divisions

MEDIA RELEASE October 19, 2015:  “The majority and dissenting reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on the China FTA show sharp divisions between the Coalition, ALP and Greens on on temporary workers and labour rights, and investor rights to sue governments," Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Read the full media release here.

Amendments support workers rights, but still problems with China FTA

October 14: The China FTA would allow Chinese companies investing more than A$150 million to import many temporary workers without testing if local workers are available, and it will allow Chinese companies to sue the Australian government in international tribunals over changes in domestic legislation (ISDS). Parliament will vote on the implementing legislation in November.

 The ALP proposed amendments to the Migration Act  would provide some protections for the rights of both temporary workers and  local workers and would apply to all trade agreements, including the China FTA and future agreements. AFTINET supports amendments to the Migration Act that would protect workers' rights. We still oppose  the inclusion of ISDS and other aspects of the China FTA. See our latest briefing paper here.