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Labor welcomes JSCOT report



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MADELEINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE MEMBER FOR BRAND

LABOR WELCOMES JSCOT REPORT

Labor welcomes progress made to safeguard Australian jobs and economic growth in the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on its review of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (A-HKFTA).

In particular, we welcome the recommendations that the Government: • Conduct independent modelling of all proposed trade agreements (this is Labor policy); and • Pursue the termination of the existing Bilateral Investment Treaty between Australia and Indonesia.

Importantly, the report confirms that there is no waiver of labour market testing for contractual service suppliers in either the Indonesia or Hong Kong agreements.

While Labor does not support the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade agreements, the report notes that the ISDS provisions in IA-CEPA include safeguards equivalent to the best Australia has agreed to date.

The report has found the IA-CEPA would reduce tariffs imposed by Indonesia, facilitate cooperation to address non-tariff barriers, ease restrictions on Australian participation in Indonesia’s services sector and improve protections for Australian investment in Indonesia.

It has also found that the A-HKFTA would codify existing trade arrangements between Australia and Hong Kong, providing greater certainty for Australian business.

Labor welcomes the Committee’s acknowledgement of concerns about the political situation in Hong Kong and its view that ratification of the A-HKFTA would strengthen Hong Kong’s unique status under the One Country Two Systems arrangement.

Labor will continue to push for the expertise of industry, unions and community groups in the course of trade negotiations. However, we acknowledge that the report concludes that these agreements are ultimately in Australia’s national interest.

We are yet to see the enabling legislation for these agreements, and we will consider the legislation when it has been tabled in Parliament.

In the meantime, we will continue to consult with stakeholders, both in the labour movement and beyond.

WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: ANDREW BURRELL 0437 290 112