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FTA: speaking out « Previous | |Next »
July 28, 2004

The consensus seem to be that, whilst many in the ALP believe that, as it stands, the bilateral FTA, with the US, delivers more negatives than positives for Australia, it is more than likely that the Labor caucus will reluctantly embrace the trade deal.

David Rowe

The strategy for a divided party up to now has been to avoid the issue by saying that they will wait for a crucial Senate committee report to be published on August 12. However, the ALP's left wing party's left wing has started signalling that it will fight the free trade agreement with the United States. Kate Lundy, the arts spokeswoman, said on ABC radio yesterday that she opposed the agreement because of the "many great risks for Australian culture".

There are also ALP concerns about the PBS scheme, the way that the trade deal strengthens the intellectual property rights of US creators, limits the local content for new media, favours the US pharmaceutical companies, and will cause a loss of jobs in Australia's automative component manufacturers, rubber and chemical manufacturers, and the textile, clothing and footware industry.

So we have mild economic benefits that need to be balanced against the inevitable restructuring, the social impacts and social dislocation. This interpretation is in line with, and reinforces, the view that with globalization incomes may not rise. There are many losers and the jobs that are created are at the low quality end of the market.

The pressure is being placed on the ALP. The FTA legislation will be tabled in the Senate when parliament resumes on Tuesday. All the indications suggest that the ALP will pass the deal, even though it acknowledges that the deal favours the US more than Australia. The ALP wants to put the issue behind it.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:39 AM | | Comments (2)


draw your own conclusions about this one:
Plum jobs for US trade deal advisers

Two senior United States trade negotiators who sealed the trade deal with Australia have accepted plum jobs representing US medical and drug companies.

Ralph Ives was promoted in April to assistant US trade representative for pharmaceutical policy after leading the trade negotiations with Australia.

Next month he becomes vice-president for global strategy at AdvaMed, an industry group that says its members produce half of the world's medical technology products.

Claude Burcky, who was Mr Ives's head negotiator for intellectual property trade issues, is now director of global government affairs at the pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories.

Mr Ives and Mr Burcky took their jobs after negotiating the trade deal. Neither returned calls from the Herald.

The trade deal has been praised in the US for strengthening the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies, who say it will set a precedent for trade agreements throughout the world. The deal has been criticised in Australia and the US for the same reasons.

Rewards for a job well done in expanding their marketplace or just canny headhunting?

Rewards for a job well done in busting open Australia's "protectionist" laws that have prevent US drug companies from making the profts they need to recover the hugh capital outlays on all their groundbreaking research and development.