Favouring local products and services in government procurement on the premise of saving Australian jobs will damage Australia's reputation as a trading nation, says Minister for Finance Lindsay Tanner. While the issue will generate a strong public reaction, he said the unions needed to look into the longer term. "If we actually tilt the playing field artificially in their favour, that does them no benefits in the longer term and a return to protectionism would be a disaster for the Australian economy in the wider sense," he said. "That is something we are absolutely committed to avoiding." The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union reported that more than 75,000 had been lost in the sector in the last year and that the government should maximise financial stimulus measures by choosing local businesses. The government responded that any moves in that direction may initiate a trade war, with Australian exporters losing out in the longer term.