Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Many hidden dangers in free trade deal with China

Jun 1, 2015News

While not directly involving our industry at the moment, the free trade agreement with China could be bad news for many Australian workers and members may find the following interesting reading.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Like many free trade deals before it, the China Free Trade Agreement is hailed by the Government as good for Australian businesses, offering better access to China’s economy, more export opportunities and opening up new markets.

But free trade deals are rarely all they are cracked up to be and there are often a lot of hidden nasties in the detail of the agreements which can be downright damaging for workers.

The free trade deal with China, which our Government will officially sign in coming weeks, is no exception.

Negotiated in secret and with no detail of the text available to the public, we’re left guessing about exactly what the agreement will mean for workers. Shadow Trade Minister Penny Wong recently accused the Government of deliberately refusing to release the text of the agreement before signing it to avoid public scrutiny.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.00.37 pmBut even with the limited information available what we do know is extremely worrying. There are reports that entire workforces may be able to be brought in from China, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs could be lost, and that Chinese companies will be able to sue Australian governments over any legislation that they can claim has ‘harmed’ their investment. Click here to download a CFMEU flyer on the China FTA. 

Meanwhile, negotiations towards an even bigger Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal continue, which contains many of the same issues and also threatens to make medicines more expensive. You can learn more and support the ACTU’s TPP petition here