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Rudd's China 2.0 fails to address FTA and carbon tax

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The Hon Julie Bishop, MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Deputy Leader of the Opposition Member for Curtin

Rudd’s China 2.0 fails to address FTA and carbon tax

Monday, 23 May 2011

Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd has failed in his recent speech titled “Australia-China 2.0” to address the single most important policy issue in terms of promoting greater trade with China.

Mr Rudd made only passing reference to the stalled negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with China and failed to outline how the government intends to finalise these discussions.

Australia and New Zealand both commenced FTA negotiations in 2005, and New Zealand reached agreement in 2008.

The Labor Government has done little to advance the FTA negotiations with China and the current Trade Minister has expressed negativity towards FTAs in principle.

It is critical for some export sectors that a FTA be finalised, with Australian seafoods for example at a disadvantage when competing against New Zealand exports which face lower tariffs into China.

It is also concerning that Mr Rudd’s speech made no reference to the Labor Government's proposed carbon tax and the implications of that tax for the relationship if China does not implement a comparable tax.

Australian industry will be a competitive disadvantage if China does not impose a carbon tax and Australian jobs will be lost.