The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is not happy with the Japan-Australia Free Trade Agreement (JAFTA), stating that it sells out the interests of Australia’s manufacturing sector in favour of the mining and agricultural sectors.
According to the media release by the AMWU, the Union is calling on the new Senate to block JAFTA and the Korean free trade agreement “in the interests of the tens of thousands of workers who are likely to be impacted by having their sector sold out by the Government.”
“Governments need to support all the sectors of the Australian economy — not pick winners and losers through bilateral trade deals. This agreement follows the trend set by the Korean and other free trade agreements and is selling out the interest of high employment and value added sectors like manufacturing in favour of other parts of the economy,” said Andrew Dettmer, National President of AMWU.
“Agreements like this just make it harder for Australia to remain an advanced, broad-based economy, which will only hurt our long term future. Bilateral trade agreements like this — and the previously signed agreement with Korea — don’t deliver their promised benefits for Australia’s economy.”
Mr Dettmer further adds that such agreements do not create opportunities for business growth and do not generate new jobs.
“Even conservative economists at the Productivity Commission and the World Bank note that these agreements do more to divert and distort trade than create real opportunities for business and job growths,” he said.
“The agreement brings tariffs on cars down to zero by 2016. This makes it even more difficult for our automotive producers to sustain volumes to 2016 and makes an early departure of Australia’s automotive manufacturers more likely.”
The AMWU has also expressed its disappointment in the Government’s decision to purchase off the shelf submarines from Japan instead of contracting local shipbuilding companies.
“If the Government goes ahead with a purchase from Japan it would represent a huge betrayal of the thousands of Australian workers who should rightly be designing and building our future submarine fleet,” said Glenn Thompson, Assistant National Secretary at AMWU.