Free trade agreements are popping up everywhere. In its first term the Bush administration pushed four through Congress and started another three. China is negotiating FTAs with Chile and New Zealand. And Australia has negotiated three with Washington, Singapore and Thailand, and is in the process of dealing with Beijing. Not everyone thinks they are good.
The Howard Government is moving inevitably towards a free trade agreement with China. That is no bad thing. In the absence of any meaningful progress at the World Trade Organisation, a medium-sized economy such as Australia has few options but to pursue bilateral pacts with powerhouse economies such as China.
Australia is fortunate to be one of few countries to remain free of BSE, the degenerative
brain disease in cattle that causes the deadly variant CJD in people. But the Free Trade
Agreement recently signed with the United States may change this.
The United States has yet to follow through on threats to challenge amendments made to the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Trade Minister Mark Vaile today defended Australia’s free trade deals with foreign countries after a new World Trade Organisation (WTO) report said such agreements could be discriminatory.
Queensland could reap $1b a year from the Free Trade Agreement with the US, but it’s not going to be easy.
The agreement was first mooted in November 2002 and has been strongly backed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who claims it as a major achievement of his government. But critics have derided it as a sell-out to US interests.
Frustrated with global trade talks, Australia is using a slew of free-trade agreements to win business across the Asian-Pacific region.
US drug manufacturers are planning a New Year’s push to pressure Canberra to unwind initiatives to cut medicine prices.
Regarding the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Thailand conflicting the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997)
An Australian Productivity Commission report into trade and assistance reviews found conditions attached to the free trade agreements signed with the United States and Thailand would be more restrictive than similar deals.
Australian businesses are preparing for an assault on the $200 billion US Government procurement market when the US-Australia FTA takes effect in just over a fortnight.
Australia’s largest internet service providers have made an 11th-hour bid to amend the free trade agreement with the US, claiming it would expose them to an avalanche of litigation.
While the main
US goal on agriculture in many FTA
negotiations often is to secure non-SPS
related concessions such as lower tariffs,
the foreign partners often see the FTA as
an opportunity to resolve outstanding
SPS issues with the US as well as seek
accelerated new market access to the US
for their animal and plant products.
In Thailand, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) debates were heated. Farmers and critics claim that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s government sold out small farmers to their own big business interests. They took to the streets in protest while Thaksin lambasted them and obscured negotiation details.
Debate has begun in the Senate on laws enabling the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement to take effect from next year.
The free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the United States would create real economic opportunities in both countries for businesses, farmers, and workers, US trade representative Robert Zoellick said.
Australia has always enjoyed rigorous national food standards that were applied equally to both domestically produced and imported food. The capacity to maintain and apply these standards, however, is now being undermined by international trade agreements and procedures for settling trade disputes with a result that challenges to public health are being significantly increased.
An inquiry into computer and television piracy could break the impasse threatening to delay the start of the free trade deal with the US.
Australia and the United States have missed a key deadline for their free trade agreement but Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile remains confident the deal will start as planned on January 1.