Bill's Media Releases

LABOR BACKS KOREAN TRADE DEAL TO SUPPORT JOBS

 Labor will support legislation implementing the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) to create economic growth and jobs for Australians.

 

KAFTA will give Australian exporters increased access to Korea and help maintain Australia’s competitiveness with the United States, the European Union and others in the Korean market.

 

It will be especially beneficial for Australia’s agricultural industries. It will also support the food processing, manufacturing, transport and services industries.

 

Agricultural sectors which stand to benefit include beef, sugar, dairy, wheat, wine and horticulture – these sectors employ more than 200,000 workers.

 

Labor believes the Abbott Government could – and should – have negotiated a better agreement with the Republic of Korea.

 

However, the Opposition has carefully analysed the agreement and concluded that, on balance, it is in Australia’s national interest.

 

Economic modelling shows KAFTA will:

  • boost Australia’s exports to Korea by $3.5 billion by 2030;

  • boost Australia’s beef exports to Korea by 59 per cent by 2030;

  • boost Australia’s GDP by $650 million by 2030, and;

  • create an additional 1,745 jobs by 2015.


 

Accordingly, Labor will vote for Customs Amendment Bills introduced by the Government to implement the tariff cuts and related matters agreed to under KAFTA.

 

We remain opposed to the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade agreements and urge the Government to reconsider the need for these provisions. In government, Labor would seek to negotiate with Korea for the ISDS provisions to be removed.

 

Labor’s also believes the Government should require employers to show that there are skills shortages if they wish to utilise KAFTA’s provisions on movement of people.

 

The Government has informed the Parliament that these provisions will not result in a significant increase in the use of section 457 visas – and Labor will hold the Government to this undertaking.

 

Labor has concerns about KAFTA’s provisions on intellectual property. The Opposition will determine its position on any changes to the Copyright Act when the details are made public.

 

By supporting the Bills which implement KAFTA, Labor will help ensure Australian industry gets early access to reduced tariffs on goods exported to Korea, and new market access for services.

 

This demonstrates Labor’s long-standing commitment to an open global trading system and the expansion of Australia’s international trading opportunities – policies which create jobs and economic growth for the future.

 

TUESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA OFFICE 02 6277 4053

SACHA FENTON (WONG) 0467 784 528