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FTA promises huge wins for Australian economy.

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Media release

30 April 2004 - MVT27/2004

FTA Promises Huge Wins for Australian Economy Economic modelling on the impact of the Free Trade Agreement recently negotiated between Australia and the United States proves beyond doubt the agreement will provide enormous benefits to the Australian economy, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said today.

The economic analysis by the Centre for International Economics suggests that a decade after coming into force the Australia-United States FTA will result in an annual boost to the Australian economy of $6.1 billion.

Other key findings from the study include:

• Over the first 20 years of the agreement, the present value of the benefit to the Australian economy exceeds $57 billion.

• Over 40,000 jobs will be created and real wages will rise.

• All states and territories will benefit.

• There will be no material impact on the price of drugs.

• And, the report identifies the clear costs of not doing the FTA.

“At the time I had no doubt the deal we negotiated in Washington was in the national interest,” Mr Vaile said. “Today’s release of an economic analysis by CIE backs this judgement.”

“The CIE has no doubt that the FTA will be worth billions of dollars to the Australian economy.”

The FTA is currently being reviewed by two Parliamentary committees and is the subject of wide public scrutiny. Legislation enabling the agreement to enter into force should go before both Houses of the Australian Parliament in August.

“The only obstacle preventing the passage of this legislation is the Australian Labor Party,” Mr Vaile said. “This FTA promises Australians benefits we can not turn our back on, and yet Mr Latham wants to block the deal.”

“This again confirms Mr Latham does not have the judgement to govern Australia.”

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420