The Age (Australia)
Textiles ’not negotiable’ in China FTA
August 20, 2006
Industry plans for Australia’s manufacturing, textile and clothing industries are not up for negotiation in a free trade deal with China, the federal government says.
Australia and China are in the early stages of trade negotiations, and agriculture, services and manufacturing are proving the most contentious areas.
Earlier this month, rifts emerged in the government frontbench over abandoning tariffs to protect Australia’s automotive and clothing industries from cheap Chinese imports.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Finance Minister Nick Minchin were reportedly nervous about relinquishing the taxes.
Mr Macfarlane said existing plans for the sectors would remain.
"We will stick by those plans and those plans run through until 2015," he told the Nine Network.
"They’re not negotiable and it’s understood that those plans have given the industries involved a decade of certainty and it would be unwise to interfere with those plans."
The government maintains heavy protection for the motor vehicle and clothing sectors, although tariff rates are set to fall from 2010.