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Stick to trade, Mr Vaile.

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CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin


11 March 2003

Stick to trade, Mr Vaile

At a time when Australia is experiencing its worst export slump in almost 50 years, Trade Minister Mark Vaile should end his forays into foreign affairs and start working on Australia’s trade deficit.

Australia’s exports to East Asia have taken a hammering in the past year, despite strong growth in the region.

The global trade negotiations hang in the balance and 60 American negotiators are arriving on Monday for talks on a US-Australia trade deal, yet the Minister is stumbling around on foreign affairs contradicting the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister.

Mr Vaile welcomed Australia’s record $3 billion trade deficit, claiming it signalled investor confidence in the Australian economy.

He is the only Trade Minister in Australia’s history who thinks trade deficits are good.

Presumably, if the trade deficit doubled, this would signal a doubling of investor confidence.

Get your mind back on the job, Mr Vaile, and leave the bumbling on foreign affairs to Mr Downer and Mr Howard.

Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386