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AAP report - Zoellick

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s ιP A R L IA M E N T OF A U S T R A L IAH O U S E OF R E P R E S E N T A T IV E SPARLIAMENT HOUSE CANBERRA. A.C.T. 2600 TEL. (06) 277 4720. 277 4419 FAX. (06) 277 4990HON. ANDREW PEACOCK, M.P.MEMBER FOR KOOYONG SHADOW MINISTER FOR TFiADELEVEL 1690 COLLINS STREET MELBOURNE, VIC. 3000 TEL. (03) 650 3455 FAX. (03) 650 5115PRESS RELEASE BY HON. ANDREW PEACOCK, MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADEThe Shadow Minister for Trade, Andrew Peacock, today said that the Federal Government has clearly damaged relations with the United States.Mr Peacock said, "Gratuitous insults in the place of an effective trade policy had brought this about."Prime Minister Paul Keating's denigration of US trade policy when he was in Tokyo two weeks ago were demonstrably against Australia's best interests."Mr Peacock said that attempts by Senator Evans to salvage the situation in Washington last week by blaming the media for exaggerating the tone of the Prime Minister's comments were unlikely to return relations to normal.Mr Peacock said, "Comments now being attributed to Robert Zoellick show that another senior official in the Bush Administration was surprised and affronted by the Prime Minister's attack on a proposal by President Bush to extend free trade agreements across the Pacific."The fact that Robert Zoellick may have told the Australian embassy in Washington that he was angered by the Prime Minister's remarks is significant because Mr Zoellick is the right-hand man to former Secretary of State and now Bush campaign director, James Baker."Beyond the fact that the Prime Minister's comments may have angered senior Bush Administration officials - creating the biggest rift in Australian-US relations in a generation, as one journalist put it - Mr Keating's comments have amounted to an absurd rejection of an important initiative which could lead to significant trade liberalisation which could benefit the whole Asia-Pacific region."As I have said previously, an important trilateral relationship exists between Australia, East Asia and the US because Australia's exports to East Asia are very much dependent on East Asia's continued access to the US market. ____ AAP REPORT - ZOELLICK




"Any proposal which offers the prospect of improving the

trilateral relationship deserves earnest consideration by the Australian Government and should never have been dismissed for base political purposes in the way the Prime Minister attacked

the Bush proposal in Tokyo.

"Australia should rather be looking at how it can help develop the Bush proposal in a GATT-consistent way which would benefit the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

"It is becoming clearer by the day that this Prime Minister has squandered a great opportunity."

ends. Canberra, 8 October 1992.