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Coalition trade policy to be released January 12 bigger focus on bilateral trade negotiations

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T im F ischer mp Federal Member for Farrer

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Trade

EM BARGO: Saturday, 6 January. 1996


Australian trade negotiators will be told to toughen up and put expanded effort into neglected bilateral country-to-country trade access and negotiations.

Federal National Party Leader and Shadow Minister for Trade, Tim Fischer, said this today when confirming trade policy release arrangements.

"I will launch the Coalition trade policy on Friday, January 12, in Canberra, as part o f the long-planned Coalition build-up to the Federal election campaign," Mr Fischer said.

"The Coalition trade policy will be about meeting challenges and will include a renewed focus on bilateral trade negotiations.

"The Labor Government has failed to take a hard-headed approach to commercial negotiations, which could have delivered better market access if pursued vigorously. This is largely because high-level Government resources have been focused neither on the identification o f such opportunities, nor on their active coordinated pursuit in bilateral trade negotiations.

"A Liberal-National Government will place greater emphasis on specific bilateral trade negotiations, in close consultation with business and other interested community groups, to obtain commercial benefits more quickly than is possible in the regional or multilateral negotiating context. Such negotiations would be coordinated with, and complement, our ongoing efforts to achieve wider trade liberalisation in APEC and wider multilateral forums such as the WTO.

"Our objective will be to secure the elimination of non-tariff barriers and achieve better trade access through fair and tough trade negotiations which will end the vacuum which has applied too often under Labor.

"The US, for example, invokes anti-dumping mechanisms to regulate the importation o f Australian steel, and Australian ferry manufacturers are precluded from exporting to the US by legislation introduced during the American Civil W ar and which has never been repealed.

"Both these examples are quite contrary to global trade liberalisation. Australia will not cop any more of the situation where, softly softly, we are being clobbered particularly in the area o f non-tariff barriers."

Mr Fischer added that full details of the policy would be released next Friday.

6 January, 1996 COMMONWEALTH


Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Telephone (06) 277 4058 Fax (06) 277 2052