Monday, February 09, 2004

The Not-So-Free Trade Agreement between Australia and US

Peter Nicholson

The US-Australia FTA has been signed but the battle ain't over yet. The pact fails to include sugar and already the minority parties, which control the senate are threatening to block the deal. Both countries have put up information on the deal but its a lesson in contradictions. For example:

The Australian View:

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), in particular the price and listing arrangements that ensure Australians access to quality, affordable medicines, remains intact.

The US Take:
Australia will make a number of improvements in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) procedures

But the clincher is that manufactures where US is more competitive than Australia would become free and open but that is not the case for Australia's area of strength - agriculture and beef. So while the US are dancing with joy our PM had to try and provide excuses as to why our country accepted an unfair deal, saying simply that We had to do the deal even though it left out key issues for Australia. Thats not right, just not right.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui