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Havachat: Free, fair or foolish? The Australian-US FTA - Day 5

By Doug Cameron and Alan Oxley - posted Friday, 30 May 2003

Havachats are week-long email dialogues between two prominent advocates on an issue of the day. To vote on the issue and make your view count, click here.

Day 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5.

Doug goes first. Alan responds.


From: Doug Cameron
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2003 13:15
To: Alan Oxley
Subject: Summary

Dear Alan,

The AMWU has demonstrated our commitment to achieving an internationally competitive manufacturing industry.

We have also been active in achieving increased investment through Industry Superannuation Funds in venture capital for Australian manufacturing companies (your term “Pension Fund" demonstrates how quickly you can be captured by American culture and practice). I have also been personally involved in discussions with major overseas corporations which have resulted in increased overseas investment in Australia.

We welcome an increased engagement with the world economy including increased exports of our manufactured goods, however we do have significant concerns as to the nature and structure of the current so-called "rules based" trading regime based on the WTO, IMF, and World Bank.

There are also significant issues relating to Australia's sovereignty and capacity to act in the interests of the nation, its communities and jobs under a USFTA.

This debate has also highlighted widespread concern as to the nature of bilateral trade agreements such as the USFTA. I do not believe you have answered these concerns in your contributions.


You continue to make wide-ranging unsubstantiated assertions in your increasingly partisan, blinkered and strident advocacy of a USFTA.

It is too easy to brand genuine concerns as a "scare campaign". I have raised a range of issues including the economic, social and cultural problems that could arise from a USFTA. Many of the issues identified have also been raised by the broader community, and academics as issues that must be addressed in a reasoned, balanced and analytical manner.

So far most of the independent analysis questions the benefits of a USFTA. Proponents of the USFTA will need to do better than the "trust me, you're getting a bargain" approach epitomised by your contributions to this debate.

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About the Authors

Doug Cameron is National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

Alan Oxley is the former ambassador to the General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs and Chairman of the Australian APEC Studies Centre.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Doug Cameron
All articles by Alan Oxley
Related Links
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Australia-US Trade Agreement home page
Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade resources
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