Analysis of temporary migrant worker arrangements and Investment Chapter of the ChAFTA
This preliminary analysis deals with the Investment Facilitation Agreement for Chinese investors to use temporary migrant labour, the lopsided market access for foreign investment, and the fact that the ISDS clauses in the agreement are incomplete and therefore ambiguous.
The Investment Facilitation Agreement allows investments greater than $150 million with 15% to 50% Chinese equity to negotiate to bring an unlimited numbers of temporary migrant workers at a negotiated minimum rate, which may not be equivalent to the market rates paid to Australian workers in the industry. The agreements are meant to conform to minimum Australian wages and conditions, but the workers will be dependent on one employer, isolated from the rest of the workforce and vulnerable to exploitation.
The investment chapter is lopsided, in that Australia has given Chinese investors far more favourable access to invest in Australia than Australian investors will have in China. And some important provisions for ISDS are not complete, but have been shunted off to a committee to review in three years’ time. The lopsided market access provisions and the failure to finish the ISDS negotiations look as if the Australian government was desperate to seal the deal at any price, and that China was successful in defending most of its existing limitations and regulations on foreign investment. See full analysis attached.