AUSTRALIA AND INDONESIA SIGN FREE TRADE DEAL: REPORTS FROM SBS AND NEWS.COM

Australia

Australia and Indonesia sign historic free trade deal after months of uncertainty

00:32 / 02:17

Australia and Indonesia have signed a landmark free trade deal, but it still needs to run the gauntlet of federal parliament.

As the Indonesian and Australian trade ministers signed the agreement in Jakarta on Monday, Labor leader Bill Shorten promised to study the detail as his party weighed up whether to lend parliamentary support.

The opposition leader says Labor is “positively disposed” towards the trade pact, which must be ratified by parliament after its formal tabling and an inquiry by the treaties committee.

Scott Morrison touches down in Jakarta. Australia and Indonesia have now signed a free trade agreement.

Scott Morrison touches down in Jakarta. Australia and Indonesia have now signed a free trade agreement.
SBS

 

“We’ll have to study the detail, as you always do – we want to make sure that Australian jobs are prioritised – but we’re very positive from what we’ve seen so far,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Both countries are in the world’s top 20 economies but not each other’s top 10 trading partners.

This is Indonesia’s first major agreement of its type and will allow Australian-owned universities to operate in the country.

Bill Shorten says says Labor is

Bill Shorten says says Labor is “positively disposed” towards the trade pact.
AAP

 

 

Australian frozen meats, live cattle, feed grains, dairy, citrus and steel will also receive favourable treatment.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal would eliminate tariffs in relation to 94 per cent of tariff lines.

“That covers 99 per cent of Australia’s current trade with Indonesia,” he said in Jakarta.

The Business Council of Australia and National Farmers’ Federation are both celebrating the trade deal.

“This is an important agreement for a large developing country like Indonesia, and it demonstrates both Australia’s and Indonesia’s commitment to rules-based global trade at a time when the voices against freer and more liberal trade are increasingly loud,” Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott said.

Unions fear it will hurt Australian jobs by opening the floodgates to exploited Indonesian workers and undermine national sovereignty by allowing international rulings on investment disputes.

The ACTU has branded it a “dodgy deal” that favours temporary visa holders, while the head of the manufacturing workers’ union says there’s no substantive evidence the deal will benefit Australian workers.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said the free trade deal elevates the bilateral relationship.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said the free trade deal elevates the bilateral relationship.
AAP

 

 

Mr Shorten said the unions were entitled to their views, but he would look at the “total national interest”.

Labor has supported a string of recent free trade deals signed by the coalition.

Even still, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that the opposition is the only thing standing in the way of the latest agreement.

“The Labor Party has often baulked on these arrangements in the past, so that would be the only risk to it as far as I can see,” he told reporters in Sydney.

The trade deal was meant to be signed last year but was delayed when the prime minister floated the idea of moving Australia’s embassy in Israel.

INDONESIA – AUSTRALIA FREE TRADE DEAL

* Indonesia has a population of 270 million people and is expected to be the world’s fifth-largest economy by 2030

* Both countries are in the world’s top 20 economies but not in each other’s top 10 list of trading partners

* It is Indonesia’s first major free trade agreement

WHAT’S IN IT FOR AUSTRALIA?

* The deal will allow 99 per cent of Australian goods to enter Indonesia duty free or under significantly better preferential arrangements

* Import licences are a major frustration for Australian exporters into Indonesia

* Grains, meat, citrus and horticultural products will be granted automatic import permits under the deal

* Rolled steel, copper and plastic exports are also expected to benefit

* Australian-owned universities will be able to operate in Indonesia

* Australians will be able to command greater stakes in vocational training, tourism, health and mining companies that operate in Indonesia

WHAT’S IN IT FOR INDONESIA?

* Australia will eliminate all tariffs on Indonesian imports into the country

* The number of Australian work and holiday visas given to Indonesians will increase from 1000 to 4100 in the first year, before growing to 5000 over six years

* 200 Indonesians will take part in six-month work-training courses in Australia

* Country-of-origin requirements will be relaxed for Indonesian cars

SOURCE AAP – SBS

SOURCE:  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-and-indonesia-sign-historic-free-trade-deal-after-months-of-uncertainty

Australia signs free trade deal with Indonesia

A trade deal between Indonesia and Australia has finally been signed after a months-long delay. But it still faces one last hurdle.

 

Story image for australian unions oppose indonesia free trade deal from NEWS.com.au

 

AAP

news.com.auMARCH 4, 2019

Australia-Indonesia free trade deal to be game changer for cattle industry

A trade deal between Indonesia and Australia has been hailed for sending a timely signal to the world about the importance of free trade.

The Indonesian and Australian trade ministers signed the agreement in Jakarta today.

Labor leader Bill Shorten promised to study the details of the deal as his party weighed up whether to support it in parliament.

The opposition leader said Labor was “positively disposed” towards the trade pact, which must be ratified by parliament after its formal tabling and an inquiry by the treaties committee.

“We’ll have to study the detail, as you always do — we want to make sure that Australian jobs are prioritised — but we’re very positive from what we’ve seen so far,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Both countries are in the world’s top 20 economies, but not each other’s top 10 trading partners.

This is Indonesia’s first major agreement of its type and will allow Australian-owned universities to operate in the country.

Australian frozen meats, live cattle, feed grains, dairy, citrus and steel will also receive favourable treatment.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal would eliminate tariffs in relation to 94 per cent of tariff lines.

“That covers 99 per cent of Australia’s current trade with Indonesia,” he said in Jakarta.

The Business Council of Australia and National Farmers’ Federation are both celebrating the trade deal.

“This is an important agreement for a large developing country like Indonesia, and it demonstrates both Australia’s and Indonesia’s commitment to rules-based global trade at a time when the voices against freer and more liberal trade are increasingly loud,” Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott said.

Unions fear it will hurt Australian jobs by opening the floodgates to exploited Indonesian workers and undermine national sovereignty by allowing international rulings on investment disputes.

The ACTU has branded it a “dodgy deal” that favours temporary visa holders, while the head of the manufacturing workers’ union says there’s no substantive evidence the deal will benefit Australian workers.

Mr Shorten said the unions were entitled to their views, but he would look at the “total national interest”.

Labor has supported a string of recent free trade deals signed by the Coalition. Even still, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that the opposition is the only thing standing in the way of the latest agreement.

“The Labor Party has often baulked on these arrangements in the past, so that would be the only risk to it as far as I can see,” he told reporters in Sydney.

The trade deal was meant to be signed last year but was delayed when the Prime Minister floated the idea of moving Australia’s embassy in Israel.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/australia-signs-free-trade-deal-with-indonesia/news-story/a6a8e5e824f73021d6885d823c458772

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In the NSW UPPER HOUSE this week – all because of the TPP-11

COMMUNITY ACTION ALLIANCE FOR NSW (CAAN) …

A consequence of Australia signing the TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP … all States and Territories including NSW …

With a Billl which establishes a system where suppliers can seek redress from the Supreme Court contrary to NSW Constituents interests!

This Bill will allow an international entity to suspend a procurement deal or seek compensation …. and may prevent the NSW Government giving work/$$$ to local companies!

The NSW Guvmnt and the CDP voted for this!

HOW CLEVER IS THAT?

In the upper house this week – all because of the TPP-11

PUBLIC WORKS AND PROCUREMENT AMENDMENT (ENFORCEMENT) BILL 2018

House of Origin: Legislative Council

As a consequence of Australia signing the Trans Pacific Partnership in March 2018 (TPP-11), all States and Territories are required to establish an independent review mechanism for government procurement. This bill ensures that Government procurement arrangements in New South Wales comply with the Trans Pacific Partnership obligations and implements international standards for the independent review of government procurement actions.

The bill establishes a system where suppliers can seek redress from the Supreme Court if they consider that a government agency has failed to comply with internationally agreed procurement rules.

The bill also allows the New South Wales Procurement Board to issue policies and directions concerning the procurement of goods and services by and for government agencies.

In addition, the bill sets out a procedure for persons to make complaints about the conduct of government agencies where it is alleged an enforceable procurement provision has been broken.

Debate on the second reading of the bill resumed on Tuesday. The Opposition and The Greens both opposed the bill and Australia’s signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership, noting that the bill will allow an international entity to suspend a procurement deal or seek compensation if it has been prevented from having a fair opportunity to participate in the procurement process.

*The Opposition argued that this may prevent the Government from giving priority to local companies.

In contrast, the Christian Democratic Party spoke in support of the bill, noting that it will enhance the recently enacted Modern Slavery Act 2018 concerning the mandatory reporting of modern slavery risks in the supply chains of government agencies and commercial organisations.

A member of the government, Dr Phelps, also spoke in support of the bill and suggested that those who opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership should raise their concerns in the Federal Parliament as the external affairs power is enshrined in the Australian Constitution (see Hansard for a transcript of the debate).

The second reading was agreed to on division (19:14), with the Government and Christian Democratic Party supporting the bill and the Opposition and The Greens voting against it. The bill was then read a third time and forwarded to the Assembly for concurrence.

SOURCE:   
https://thehouseinreview.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/13-november-2018/

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CHINA: What’s really behind the ‘thaw’ in relations with Australia

 

COMMUNITY ACTION ALLIANCE FOR NSW (CAAN) …

NOW we see why …
-articles are written almost apologising for wanting to uphold our Sovereignty

-no real exposure given to so called ‘issues’ that have thwarted ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING LEGISLATION …

-all because it will quickly be criticised as RACIST …

*Critics point out Chinese leaders have a history of promising more openness while maintaining the most protectionist domestic market of any major economy.

-Australia has what they need or want … that is what is behind the “openness”

 

China: What’s really behind the ‘thaw’ in relations with Australia?

ANALYSIS BY CHINA CORRESPONDENT BILL BIRTLES IN SHANGHAI

5 NOVEMBER 2018
PM Malcolm Turnbull holds his forehead reading, as Treasurer Scott Morrison addresses Parliament.
PHOTO

Beijing appears satisfied the Government is no longer publicly naming and blaming China.

ABC NEWS: MATT ROBERTS

 

It has been a rare good week for Australia’s China-based diplomats.

Not only has Trade Minister Simon Birmingham made his first official visit to Shanghai, but Foreign Minister Marise Payne also announced she would visit Beijing, breaking a year-long ministerial freeze imposed by China’s Government.

Such regular trips by high-profile ministers were once common, but they have been delayed, scuttled or scaled down over the past two years as China’s anger over allegations of Communist Party influence in Australia resulted in an unofficial policy to put Australia in the doghouse.

Diplomats have had to bear the brunt of regular reminders from Chinese counterparts that Australia must “correct” its behaviour.

The media has come in for special attention from Chinese authorities, with the ABC website blocked for allegedly breaching the country’s very broad censorship laws.

 

At least one Chinese company had recently been ordered to hold off on announcing fresh investment in Australia, according to a Beijing-based Australian business source.

All up, it has been a fairly chilly time to be an Australian in the Chinese capital.

So it is understandable — the excitement in official circles around what would normally be a routine bi-annual visit by a foreign minister this week.

 

Both in China’s official media and through Australian business circles, the reason for the diplomatic thaw is clear — Beijing is satisfied Australia’s Government is no longer publicly naming and blaming China in the way former PM Malcolm Turnbull did during the peak of the debate around new foreign interference laws.

That is not to say all the differences over political values, the South China Sea and China’s expansive foreign policy have disappeared — indeed Mr Birmingham acknowledged as much in Shanghai this week.

But in the face of a tough trade battle with the US, China now appears willing to put those differences aside.

Australian businesses to benefit

*Australian businesses are relieved, even though few have seen any tangible trading drop-off as a result of the diplomatic spat.

Thousands of containers seen at a port in China.

PHOTO Two-thirds of companies are optimistic about investing more in the Chinese economy, a new survey shows.

REUTERS: ALY SONG

 

A new survey by the Australia-China Chamber of Commerce in Beijing this week shows two-thirds of companies are optimistic about investing more in the Chinese economy, even though it is slowing down.

 

Companies like Swiss, Blackmores, A2 Milk and Freedom Foods have all been buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s fresh pledge to boost imports into the vast Chinese market.

Australian medical companies and education providers are welcoming promises to lift foreign equity caps for those sectors in China.

*Critics point out Chinese leaders have a history of promising more openness while maintaining the most protectionist domestic market of any major economy.

But Xi Jinping went to an awful lot of trouble to create this week’s massive Import Expo in Shanghai and was at pains to stress China would continue to open up.

If he actually follows through, Australian businesses must feel a little more confident now they are in a position to capitalise on it.

 

RELATED

China claims to champion free trade amid US tariff war pressure

If China’s on the rise, why do many want out?

 

SOURCE:   https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-05/whats-behind-the-thaw-in-chinas-relations-with-australia/10467788

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TAIWAN TRADE HOPES DERAILED BY DEAL-BREAKING CHINA

CHINA has a history of deal-breaking … Australia used to manufacture most of its needs!

Australian manufacturers were beaten by China price because with its 1.4 billion people the majority of whom were enslaved China was able to copy Australian designs and manufacture ever so cheaply … and continues to do so today!

Much of these products soon fall apart, and end up in landfill  … yet they continue to flood our markets!

So much for Australia’s “alleged prosperity” …

Meanwhile thanks to the greedy developer Titans having played the major Parties against one another China is buying up our Real Estate (farms, commerce and residential)!

Through Visa manipulation by students, the investment stream, and family they not only buy even more Real Estate but gain Residency!

Who’s more prosperous?

ASK yourself why … and could it have been due to the growing influence of China that:

-we have lost the bulk of our domestic manufacturing

-our education system is sliding

.with our schools full-up

.Universities were free; yet now they are reliant on predominantly Chinese students fees

.China is looking to take their students back

-why it is we have the highest per person private debt

.is that due to a whole Cohort of Australians priced out; outbid by Chinese at housing auctions

.led to higher rentals

.our power prices have escalated with our power cheaper overseas

TAIWAN is our eighth largest export market without  a FTA!

Yet despite this no doubt at the behest of business and the rural sector Abbott and Turnbull pursued free trade agreements with a number of economies in Asia, striking deals with South Korea, Japan and China over 2014 and 2015. The Morrison government is pursuing deals with Indonesia and Hong Kong  … no let-up!

New Zealand, Singapore and other countries have previously inked agreements with Taiwan after securing separate deals with China

Australia abandoned plans for Taiwanese free trade agreement after warning from China

Australia walked away from plans for a free trade agreement with Taiwan after China warned any deal would hurt relations between Beijing and Canberra.

Taiwan was on a list of economies the Coalition government was considering for bilateral trade deals but, in a series of meetings over 2017 and 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi conveyed directly to former foreign minister Julie Bishop that China was opposed to Australia boosting formal ties with the government of President Tsai Ing-wen.

“The Chinese government made it clear to me that circumstances had changed between Taiwan and mainland China and that China would not look favourably on Australia seeking to pursue a free trade agreement with Taiwan, as New Zealand had done some years ago,” Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media.

Foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Wang Yi in Beijing in 2016.
Foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Wang Yi in Beijing in 2016.CREDIT:AP

 

Taiwan, a self-governed democracy of 23 million people, operates under de facto independence from China. The Chinese Communist Party – viewing the island as a renegade province that needs to be unified with the mainland – actively seeks to restrict Taiwan’s international engagement and influence its domestic politics.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since the 2016 election of Dr Tsai, leader of the traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, who has angered the CCP by refusing to endorse the “1992 consensus” – an agreement between the two sides that affirmed the principle of one China but allowed for different interpretations.

 

RELATED ARTICLE

 

Since 2016, China has peeled away five of Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies, excluded it from international forums and forced global companies to classify it as part of China.

Both sides have escalated military exercises to demonstrate their capability in any Taiwan Strait conflict.

Tensions have also been exacerbated by the election of President Donald Trump, who has adopted a hardline approach towards China and overseen a strengthening of the United States’ relationship with Taiwan.

The strain in cross-strait relations follows a warm stretch between 2008 and 2016 under the more Beijing-friendly Kuomintang administration of president Ma Ying-Jeou, who boosted Taiwan’s ties with China.

“During my time as foreign minister, I observed an increasing assertiveness on the part of China to encourage nations to disengage from their relationship with Taiwan,” said Ms Bishop, who was foreign minister between 2013 and 2018.

“This included in the Pacific and where some nations still formally recognise Taiwan and in some of the major multilateral forums where Taiwan had observer status to participate in such meetings.”

A senior Taiwanese official told Fairfax Media there was strong political will in Taipei for a trade agreement with Canberra “but we understand the difficult political situation Australia faces” and emphasised there was already a healthy trading relationship.

“We will be patient,” the official said.

In a statement, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said: “Taiwan is an important economic partner and Australia’s eighth largest goods export market, however the government has no immediate plans to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement.”

Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute, said the retreat on an Australia-Taiwan agreement was “collateral damage” from the change in cross-strait relations since the 2016 election.

Beijing’s response has been to squeeze and isolate Taiwan at every turn, and stop the island’s government from building closer ties around the world. Hence the pressure on Australia to back away from any FTA,” Mr McGregor said.

Under prime ministers Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition pursued free trade agreements with a number of economies in Asia, striking deals with South Korea, Japan and China over 2014 and 2015. The Morrison government is hoping to finalise deals with Indonesia and Hong Kong soon.

Other countries, including New Zealand and Singapore, have previously inked agreements with Taiwan after securing separate deals with China.

The Taiwanese economy is heavily reliant on China and Dr Tsai’s government has sought to reduce this exposure through strengthened ties with Asia-Pacific countries, including Australia.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-abandoned-plans-for-taiwanese-free-trade-agreement-after-warning-from-china-20181024-p50bj5.html

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Labor clears way for TPP

BAD NEWS!  Urgent:  Backflip called for!

LABOR clears way for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Australia will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership after Labor resolved to support the 11-country trade agreement despite internal resistance over fears about its impact on Australian workers and scepticism about its economic value.

Overcoming hostility led by Left faction MPs and the union movement, Labor’s trade spokesman Jason Clare announced new policies to tighten Australia’s approach to future trade agreements.

Mr Clare’s recommendation that Labor give the Morrison government the votes it needs to pass the enabling legislation was approved after a lengthy debate involving 23 speakers in Tuesday’s caucus meeting. A slight majority of the speakers – including some Right faction MPs – opposed the legislation but the motion was ultimately passed without a formal vote.

A meeting of TPP-11 members in March.
A meeting of TPP-11 members in March.Photo: AP

Internal concerns centred on increased labour mobility for foreign workers, weak protections for Australians and whether the TPP-11 was consistent with Labor’s policy platform.

There is also resistance to allowing foreign multinationals to sue the government under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

Backers of the agreement noted Australian exporters’ improved access to global markets, defended its labour and environmental protections, and emphasised membership of the agreement would help Australia strengthen its role in the region at an uncertain strategic time.

Mr Clare said it was not protectionism to insist a company looked for Australian workers first before bringing in foreigners.

“Australia is a trading nation. Our economic growth is underpinned by our ability to sell our goods and services overseas,” Mr Clare said in a statement.

“At the moment trade deals are negotiated in secret with not enough input from Parliament, industry, unions and civil society groups or the community. Labor will change that.”

A Labor government would make labour-market testing compulsory, prevent Australia entering agreements that contain investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and introduce increased transparency and consultation in trade deal negotiations and a tougher national interest test.

Labor will attempt to negotiate side deals with members of the TPP-11 to strengthen labour-market testing and eliminate the investor-state dispute settlement provision for Canada.

The government needed the opposition’s support after a majority of crossbench senators said they would oppose the legislation.

The TPP-11 – officially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – is the successor to the original TPP involving the United States. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from that partnership.

Greens trade spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young criticised Labor’s decision, saying the TPP-11 would hurt Australian workers and make the government vulnerable to foreign corporations.

“Labor has betrayed Australian workers, and our sovereignty, by paving the way to locking our nation to the dangerous TPP,”  Senator Hanson-Young said.

“It gives countries the ability to bring in temporary migrant workers with no need to first check if there are Australians ready, willing and able to do the job instead. This deal will result in Australia losing 39,000 jobs.

“It’s a bad deal, devised in a backroom and designed for a boardroom. It is baffling that Labor would support this deal.”

Fergus Hunter

Fergus Hunter is a political reporter for Fairfax Media, based in Parliament House.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-clears-way-for-trans-pacific-partnership-20180911-p5031q.html?crpt=homepage

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Unions accuse Labor of selling them out over TPP

Unions accuse Labor of selling them out over TPP

Unions are angry and feel betrayed by the ALP’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, accusing their affiliated party of selling them out.

Labor resolved to support the partnership despite internal resistance over fears about its impact on Australian workers and scepticism about its economic value.

After lengthy debate, Labor’s trade spokesman Jason Clare was successful in overcoming opposition within caucus to ensure the Morrison government will have the votes it needs to pass the enabling legislation.

Labor's trade spokesman Jason Clare has angered unions with his support for the TPP.
Labor’s trade spokesman Jason Clare has angered unions with his support for the TPP.Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Paul Bastian said the TPP would be a “disaster for Australian workers”. “It beggars belief that the Labor caucus would sign off on ratifying the TPP given it’s against the party’s own policy,” he said.

The Electrical Trades Union warned Labor it faced a real threat of losing the support of Australian workers ahead of the next election if it failed to reverse its support for the TPP.

“Labor has announced a policy to improve how current trade deals are negotiated, in particular the fact that agreements like the TPP are negotiated in secret without community input, yet they are failing to put that commitment into action by demanding improvements to this trade deal,” ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said.

“This dodgy deal is opposed by the majority of the Senate crossbench, meaning it can only pass through the parliament if Labor gives it the green light.

“The Opposition not only has an unprecedented ability to demand a better deal, failing to do so will see them forced to accept responsibility for the significant failings of this agreement.

Mr Hicks stopped short of threatening to disaffiliate from the ALP “on this occasion”. “But we’ve certainly got strong concerns about it and we want to make sure that not only the Labor Party but the broader Australian community understand what our concerns are,” he said.

“Politicans do back flips all the time and this is a good opportunity for them to do a backflip and look after the Australian people”.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus
ACTU secretary Sally McManusPhoto: AAP

 

Australian Council of Trade Unions national secretary Sally McManus said the ACTU and the union movement “are disappointed by the ALP’s decision to vote for the TPP enabling legislation”.

Concerns within Labor and unions centre on increased labour mobility for foreign workers, weak protections for Australians and whether the TPP-11 was consistent with Labor’s policy platform.

There is also resistance to allowing foreign multinationals to sue the government under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

Backers of the agreement noted Australian exporters’ improved access to global markets, defended its labour and environmental protections, and emphasised membership of the agreement would help Australia strengthen its role in the region at an uncertain strategic time.

Mr Clare said it was not protectionism to insist a company looked for Australian workers first before bringing in foreigners.

A Labor government would make labour-market testing compulsory, prevent Australia entering agreements that contain investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and introduce increased transparency and consultation in trade deal negotiations and a tougher national interest test.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/unions-accuse-labor-of-selling-them-out-over-tpp-20180912-p503bx.html

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Anna Patty

Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter.

TPP to pass without PC assessment

Image result for the tpp

TPP to pass without PC assessment

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

at 12:10 am on September 12, 2018

By Leith van Onselen

The Productivity Commission’s (PC) latest Trade & Assistance Review,

https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/trade-assistance/2016-17/trade-assistance-review-2016-17.pdf

 released in April, was scathing of the processes surrounding ‘free trade agreement’ (FTA) negotiations and demanded thorough independent assessment both prior to negotiations commencing, as well as before an FTA is passed by parliament:

…the Commission concluded in 2010 that the economic benefits of bilateral trade agreements have generally been oversold and the risks have been understated. The Commission recommended that agreements should be reached only when they provide outcomes that are in Australia’s interest and they are the most cost-effective way of achieving those outcomes. The Commission further recommended that there should be more transparent and rigorous assessments of such agreements. This should encompass two elements. To ensure agreements are in the Australia’s interest, before negotiations commence, modelling should include realistic scenarios and be overseen by an independent body. After negotiations have concluded and prior to signing of the agreement, a full and public assessment should be undertaken covering all of the actual negotiated provisions. As with all areas of policy, trade agreements need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the balance of benefits and costs for future agreements may be different, for example because they cover a smaller share of Australian trade.

The PC has also explicitly warned

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/06/productivity-commission-slams-tpp-trade-deal/

about the risks inherent in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement:

…based on US media access to the current draft text, it appears likely that the TPP will include obligations on pharmaceutical price determination arrangements in Australia and other TPP members, of an uncertain character and intent. The history of IP arrangements being addressed in preferential trade deals is not good. Indeed, to the extent that the return to IP holders awarded by more stringent IP laws outweighed the benefits to the broader economy, the provision would also impose a net cost on both partners, lowering trading and growth potential across the bloc…

There is also a risk that specific provisions within these agreements including those relating to intellectual property, investor-state dispute settlement and product-specific rules of origin will impose net costs on trading partner economies.

With this background in mind, the TPP looks set to be passed by parliament without the PC’s expert assessment:

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/pacific-trade-pact-set-to-pass-parliament

Labor will support a massive Pacific trade deal involving 11 countries after a long debate among MPs in the party room on Tuesday.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership now looks set to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, after the government could not secure crossbench votes.

Despite some opposition from Labor MPs in the party room on Tuesday, the party will support the deal.

So much for due process. Labor / Liberal: both unrepresentative swill.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

SOURCE:   https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/09/tpp-pass-without-pc-assessment/

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LABOR sold-out Workers on TPP!! And why did Unions enter an immigration compact?

HOPE this is not true!   If so reverse it!

A factory worker pours molten iron at Backwell IXL in Geelong.

Union hypocrites: Labor sold-out workers on TPP

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

September 13, 2018

By Leith van Onselen

The Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union are angry that Labor has agreed to support legislation to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), claiming it represents a “disaster for Australian workers” and threatening to pull support from Labor at the next election. From The Australian:

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union criticised the decision, declaring it beggars belief Labor would sign off on an agreement that was a “disaster” for workers.

AMWU national secretary Paul Bastian said today “it beggars belief that the Labor caucus would sign off on ratifying the TTP given it’s against the party’s own policy”.
“The TPP-11 is a disaster for Australian workers,’’ he said.

“The labour mobility provisions would give open access to 6 signatory countries without labour market testing. This has the potential to see huge pressures on our labour market, further downward pressure on wages and conditions, and foreign workers exploited.

He said provisions giving multinational corporations the ability to sue a Government was a grave risk to sovereignty.

“It is clear that Labor knows these are issues — they admit as such, and note that any future trade deals would require labour market testing and a rejection of investor state dispute settlement provisions,’’ he said.

“If these issues are crucial for any future trade deals — why not for the TPP? The TPP must be amended before it is ratified by Parliament.

ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said the ALP risked losing the support of workers before the federal election if they failed to reverse the decision to “blindly support the deeply-flawed” TPP.

“This dodgy deal is opposed by the majority of the Senate crossbench, meaning it can only pass through the parliament if Labor gives it the green light…

“The TPP is all about looking after the big end of town, maximising profits for multinational corporations at the expense of what is best for the Australian public,” Mr Hicks said.

“These big businesses will be able to bring temporary workers into the country without even advertising those jobs locally, taking away training and employment opportunities for young Australians.

The unions are 100% correct in this instance. As noted yesterday,

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/09/tpp-pass-without-pc-assessment/

the TPP has been negotiated in secret without independent scrutiny. At a minimum, the deal should have been referred to the Productivity Commission for expert assessment of the costs and benefits before a parliamentary vote.

That said, the unions are being hypocrites on the issue of foreign workers.  If they are so concerned about foreign workers flooding Australia’s labour market, then why did they enter into an immigration compact 

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/06/actu-dumb-on-migration-council-wage-attack/

with the Migration Council and the business lobby? How is supporting the perpetual flood of migrant workers into the labour market via the mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy beneficial for ordinary Australian workers? It isn’t.

Clearly, Australia’s union movement is conflicted around the issue of businesses employing foreign workers – both supporting and opposing at the same time.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/09/union-hypocrites-labor-sold-workers-tpp/

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CHINA: Australian government made ‘wrong decision’ over 5G ban

IT took the Turnbull Australian Government so long to intervene to ensure the security of what remains of our Sovereignty … we have lost our ports, power, mines, and property (residential, commercial and agricultural) despite extensive warnings from security experts ….

A handful of articles that alone issue a warning about excess Chinese investment in Australia.  An obvious threat to our security … why do you suppose they persist in buying up so much of our assets if it were not to gain financial control?  Control of Australia …

Landbridge Darwin and the PRC https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/landbridge-darwin-and-the-prc/

Security Expert issues warning on Chinese investment

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-13/security-expert-issues-warning-on-chinese-investment/7323352

“Australia can’t afford to be naive when it comes to investment in critical infrastructure,” Jennings wrote in The Australian Financial Review in July.

http://www.afr.com/news/politics/chinese-money-heats-up-australian-foreign-investment-and-pressure-on-firb-20160808-gqo3ij#ixzz4Gz3AfPQh

ASIO warned politicians about taking cash from Huang Xiangmo Chau Chak Wing

https://www.afr.com/news/politics/asio-warned-politicians-about-taking-cash-from-huang-xiangmo-chau-chak-wing-20170605-gwktc9

Chinese gas investor buys 1BILLION SANTOS stake

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/chinese-gas-investor-buys-1b-santos-stake/news-story/bc702d67ab4f39ab54a6a3

CHINA:  Australian government made ‘wrong decision’ over 5G ban

 

Beijing: China’s ministry of commerce says Australia has made “a wrong decision”, while a nationalistic tabloid has labelled the Australian government “back stabbers”, in the wake of Chinese companies being barred from the 5G rollout.

 

https://www.smh.com.au/technology/government-implies-5g-china-ban-in-new-security-advice-20180823-p4zz77.html

The ministry of commerce said new rules that exclude Huawei and ZTE from participating in 5G networks would have a negative impact on Australian and Chinese companies, in comments that appeared to link the ban to the wider trading relationship.

Huawei had been angling to build 5G infrastructure in Australia.
Huawei had been angling to build 5G infrastructure in Australia.Photo: AP

“Australia should look at the big picture of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, rather than easily interfere with and restrict normal business activities in the name of national security,” a
ministry spokesman said.

Global Times editorial on Friday accused Australia of setting a precedent for “discriminating against Huawei in the name of national security”.

The Global Times, known for its tabloid coverage of foreign policy, wrote:

“Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government said it wanted to improve ties with China. But in action, it stabbed Huawei, a company that embodies China’s reform and opening-up, in the back.”

The editorial accused US intelligence agencies of warning Australia against cooperating with Huawei as the US tried to protect its own markets.

 

It also linked the Huawei ban to the US trade war with China, and gave a dramatic warning of payback.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said in 2017 the system being built by Huawei could be used to automatically control trains.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said in 2017 the system being built by Huawei could be used to automatically control trains.Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

“Washington and its followers boycotting Chinese producers should be aware that the world’s largest telecommunications market is in China and the largest comprehensive market in the future is also in China.

“Those who willfully hurt Chinese companies with an excuse of national security will meet their nemesis,” the editorial said.

The Chinese newspaper predicted Australia’s decision may “not necessarily” cause a domino effect in western countries, because “not all developed countries are hysterical about so-called security
issues”.

But the Australian government’s decision to bar Huawei from the 5G rollout potentially influencing other nations is clearly causing concern in Beijing.

Play Video

Huawei rebuts Australian security concerns

Play Video

01:53

Huawei rebuts Australian security concerns

Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies has refuted Australian claims it poses a security risk, calling the criticism “ill-informed” in an open letter that threatens to inflame already heightened Sino-Canberra tensions.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Thursday said: “Instead of exploiting all kinds of excuses to create hurdles and taking discriminatory measures we urge the Australian side to abandon ideological biases and create a sound environment for the fair competition for Chinese enterprises in Australia.”

The 5G decision – which was always going to be sensitive – was released publicly at a time of high political drama in Canberra, under the name of acting home affairs minister Scott Morrison, who had held the portfolio for less than two days. Morrison is now a contender for the prime minister’s job.

Unlike Turnbull’s introduction of foreign interference legislation in December, which he had linked to claims of Chinese communist party interference, no mention of China or Huawei was made in the 5G statement.

But it was clear that companies “subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” referred to Chinese companies.

The contenders and the incumbent in the Liberal leadership fight.
The contenders and the incumbent in the Liberal leadership fight.Photo: Alex Ellinghuasen

Turnbull’s challenger as prime minister, Peter Dutton, oversaw the national security agencies as home affairs minister and is expected to take a harder line on Chinese investment in Australia.

Morrison, as treasurer, has already racked up experience balancing national security and economic interests in deciding whether to allow significant Chinese investments in agriculture. He famously blocked the NSW Government’s sale of the electricity grid to a Chinese consortium.

Julie Bishop, as foreign minister, is the best known to China of the three prime ministerial contenders. Ms Bishop had been expected to visit China in the coming months.

Kirsty Needham

Kirsty Needham is China Correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

 

SOURCE:   https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/china-australia-government-back-stabbers-over-huawei-decision-20180824-p4zzg0.html

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MICHAEL WEST: Latest TPP a parade of corporate favours masquerading as free trade

Just how did Turnbull intend to fix our power cost problems?

The article is very clear –

Less well known is the impact of the trade-in-services chapter and related chapters which restrict the ability of future governments to regulate essential services and to restore regulation in the event of the failure of deregulation or privatisation.

For example, the dramatic failure of and deregulation and privatisation of vocational education services in Australia resulted in fraud against students and the government. The current government had to act to re-regulate the sector late in 2016. If the TPP had already been implemented, without very specific exclusions for private vocational education services, the ratchet structure could have prevented such re-regulation.

Even if such exemptions existed for government-to-government disputes, they would not have prevented ISDS disputes. A private vocational education company from a TPP country could have argued that the value of its investment had been reduced by re-regulation, and could have launched an ISDS case for compensation.

 

  • Australia has never before signed an agreement containing essentially unacceptable suspended clauses that could be resurrected in future.
  • The TPP-11 increases the numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers from TPP countries and removes the obligation to test if local workers are available.
  • The chapters on labour and environment are weak and not legally enforceable in the same way as other chapters in the agreement.
  • The government has refused to undertake independent studies of the economic, health, environmental and other impacts of the TPP-11 in Australia despite advice from key bodies like the Productivity Commission, public health and environmental experts.

Latest TPP a parade of corporate favours masquerading as free trade

Latest TPP a parade of corporate favours masquerading as free trade

Bad for workers, bad for taxpayers, bad for the environment, bad for Australia. The latest iteration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a boon for multinational corporations, writes Patricia Ranald. They might have rebadged it with a sassy name but this trade deal is a gift for Big Pharma and other global titans merely masquerading as free trade.

The government is peddling a series of myths about the TPP-11, myths which are repeated in its Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report (JSCOT) which was released today.

Myth 1: The TPP-11 is a different and better version of the TPP-12 from which the US Trump administration withdrew two years ago, because some clauses have been suspended and it has been rebadged as the “Comprehensive Progressive” TPP.

Fact: Only 22 clauses, mostly about medicine and copyright monopolies, have been suspended out of 30 chapters, but these clauses remain in the text, pending the US rejoining the agreement.

Many of the them involve giving pharmaceutical companies an additional three years of data protection monopolies over expensive biologic medicines, used to treat cancer and other serious illnesses, which would delay the availability of cheaper versions of these drugs, and cost our public health system hundreds of millions per year.

Most governments never wanted this US policy and only agreed to it in order to get access to the US market. Pharmaceutical companies, which are the most profitable in the world, already have 20 years of monopoly plus five years of data protection on new medicines in Australia.

The extra three years of monopoly could be revived if the US decides to re-join the agreement.

Australia has never before signed an agreement containing essentially unacceptable suspended clauses that could be resurrected in future.

Myth 2: Australia must support the TPP-11 as a symbol of free trade against the rising global tide of protectionism

Fact: Even with the suspended clauses, the TPP-11 text still entrenches existing medicine and copyright monopolies in an international agreement, making it more difficult for governments to reduce them in future.

The Productivity Commission has correctly argued that it may be desirable to reduce such costly monopolies in future, and that using trade agreements to entrench monopolies is the opposite of free trade.

Most of the TPP-11’s chapters give greater rights to global corporations that already have enormous market power, while reducing the ability of governments to regulate them in the public interest.

All trade agreements have government-to-government dispute processes. But the TPP-11 also gives special legal rights to individual foreign companies to bypass national courts and sue governments for compensation in unfair international tr.ibunals if they can argue that a change in law or policy harmed their investment. This known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

Critics like former High Court Chief Justice French have noted ISDS tribunals have no independent judiciary, precedents or appeals.

Australia’s experience of being sued by the US Philip Morris tobacco company using an obscure Hong Kong investment agreement to claim compensation for our plain packaging legislation has meant that tobacco regulation alone has been clearly excluded from ISDS cases in the TPP-11.

But the necessity for this specific tobacco exclusion shows that the weak general “safeguards” in the TPP-11 will not prevent cases against other public interest regulation, which governments will have to defend.

Even when governments win such cases they lose a lot. It took over four years and $39 million in legal fees for the ISDS tribunal to find that Philip Morris was not a Hong Kong company. There are now over 850 known cases, with increasing numbers against health, environment and even indigenous land rights law and policy.

Less well known is the impact of the trade-in-services chapter and related chapters which restrict the ability of future governments to regulate essential services and to restore regulation in the event of the failure of deregulation or privatisation.

These chapters treat regulation of services as if it were a tariff to be frozen at existing levels, and not to be increased in future, known as the ratchet structure. All services are included unless specifically exempted. The exemptions only apply to government-to-government disputes. They do not prevent ISDS cases being taken on exempted services.

This structure ignores the need for democratic governments to respond to changed circumstances like the re-regulation of the financial sector following the global financial crisis, or indeed the current Royal Commission into the banks.

New forms of regulation are needed to reduce carbon emission levels and change energy markets in response to climate change. The ratchet structure can also prevent governments from re-regulating in response to privatisation failures.

For example, the dramatic failure of and deregulation and privatisation of vocational education services in Australia resulted in fraud against students and the government. The current government had to act to re-regulate the sector late in 2016. If the TPP had already been implemented, without very specific exclusions for private vocational education services, the ratchet structure could have prevented such re-regulation.

Even if such exemptions existed for government-to-government disputes, they would not have prevented ISDS disputes. A private vocational education company from a TPP country could have argued that the value of its investment had been reduced by re-regulation, and could have launched an ISDS case for compensation.

Myth three: The TPP protects workers’ rights and the environment

Fact: The TPP-11 increases the numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers from TPP countries and removes the obligation to test if local workers are available. These temporary migrant workers have less rights than permanent migrants because they are tied to one employer and can be deported if they lose the job, exposing them to super-exploitation, as revealed by numerous media reports, academic studies and parliamentary reports.

The TPP-11 does not contain fully enforceable labour rights and environmental standards. The chapters on labour and environment are weak and not legally enforceable in the same way as other chapters in the agreement.

Myth Four: The TPP-11 will create significant economic growth

Fact: Australia already has free trade agreements with all but two of the TPP-11 countries (Canada and Mexico), so the additional market access for Australian products is very limited.

The government has refused to undertake independent studies of the economic, health, environmental and other impacts of the TPP-11 in Australia despite advice from key bodies like the Productivity Commission, public health and environmental experts.

International predictive econometric studies of the TPP-12 with very favourable assumptions showed GDP growth of only 0.7% by 2030. Similar studies of the TPP-11 without the US show even smaller GDP growth of 0.5%.

These predicted tiny benefits have not been assessed against the cost of other impacts discussed above. The TPP-11 after US withdrawal includes Australia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and New Zealand.

The politics of it

The report of the government-dominated Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) has predictably recommended in favour of the implementing legislation, with some critical comments by the minority of Labor members.

Community concern has also succeeded in getting a Senate inquiry, which will report on September 18. The government does not have a majority on this inquiry, and it is likely to be more critical. Community organisations are advocating for the Senate majority to reject the TPP -11 implementing legislation because it increases corporate rights at the expense of communities and the environment.

 

SOURCE:   https://www.michaelwest.com.au/latest-tpp-a-parade-of-corporate-favours-masquerading-as-free-trade/

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__________________

Dr Patricia Ranald is Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) and honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.