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More 'fine detail' needed on FTA

19 November, 2014

Concerns the signing of Australia's free trade deal with China could be opening us up to our largest trading partner have been dismissed by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

The FTA was signed with China on Monday following nearly a decade of talks, covering projects worth more than $20 billion.

It will eliminate all of China's tariffs on Australia's resource and energy products.

The industries standing to profit will be the mining sector, dairy farmers and wine exporters.

Robb told reporters the nation would start to see the positive difference the signing will have on the economy in the not too distant future.

"People will start to see the benefits, the jobs that come out of it and the opportunities, and not have the fear that often is pushed around the country," he said.


Former PM Kevin Rudd delivers his verdict on the historic Aust-China FTA in BBC interview.


Oppn: trade liberalisation 'good for economy'

Shadow Trade and Investment Minister Penny Wong, while welcoming move, asserted that the devil would be in the fine detail – which she said had yet to be seen.

"The government has refused to release the text to you, me and every other Australian to tell us the detail of what they've actually agreed, and in fact the text won't be released until after signing next year," she said.

"But overall, what we say is, the principle of trade liberalisation is good for the economy, good for Australian jobs."

Ai Group CE Innes Willox said although there still remained many "unknowns", he called on the government to focus on implementing the FTA in a way that would allow SMEs to derive benefit.

"All studies, along with feedback from our members, indicate there is very low take up of advantages under Australia's FTAs … this should be addressed to reap the full benefit of these agreements," he said.

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