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Unions talk against free trade agreements

Unions talk against free trade agreements article image

Trade unions have ironically spoken out against trade in their latest campaign to halt the progress of Australia's future free trade agreements during the current recession. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is likely to adopt a measure calling on the Government to suspend future free trade agreements in their national congress next month: "Government shall not enter into further bilateral trade agreements until the present recession has passed and the shape of the post-crisis world has become clear." This joins their earlier call for the Government to favour Australian goods and services in public procurements. The unions want a 20 percent price advantage, which means favouring Australian product even if it is 20 percent dearer than the foreign equivalent. Minister for Trade Simon Crean will resist the push, labelling the move protectionist and possibly in breach of existing free trade obligations. Australia is currently negotiating free trade agreements with China and South Korea.

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