Australia Broadcasting Corporation | Friday, May 5, 2006
Vaile pushes for broad Chinese FTA
Federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile says wheat and beef must be included in any free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
Chinese officials reportedly will not commit to a request by the Australian Government to make the agreement more comprehensive.
Mr Vaile says the Government will stand by its call for all sectors and products to be included.
"You don’t start a negotiation by excluding anything and so we’ve got to see what’s on offer," he said.
"We’ve got to see improvements in market access and this is the case both ways, the Chinese will seek improvements in market access into our markets for some products and we’ll be doing it into theirs."
The head of the National Farmers Federation (NFF), Peter Corish, agrees, saying it would be unacceptable if beef and wheat were excluded from a FTA.
"Excluding particular sectors this early in the negotiation, or in fact at any stage in the negotiation, is not what we believe is appropriate," he said.
Mr Corish says Australian beef and wheat exports would not swamp China’s domestic market.
"The basis for excluding beef and wheat is that Australia’s productive capacity could swamp the Chinese market for these products," he said.
"That’s not correct, we do have other lucrative markets both for beef and wheat."