Labor's crocodile tears for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India are laughable.
Despite their claims, Labor did not deliver a single new FTA during their six years in Government; they only concluded FTAs commenced by the Howard Government.
Since coming to Government in 2013, the Coalition has delivered FTAs with the North Asian powerhouses of China, Japan and Korea; delivered a new improved agreement with Singapore; re-commenced and fast-tracked trade negotiations with Indonesia; lead work to increase ambition in the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations; and started and completed the preliminary study for an FTA with the European Union, Australia’s second-largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment.
The reason for Labor’s inability to deliver FTAs is clear: Labor prefers our farmers, service providers and manufacturers be left waiting at the bus stop of multilateral trade deals, while our competitors race ahead on the highway of bilateralism securing preferential deals to our detriment.
While the Shadow Trade Minister is pining for bilateral FTAs, the Shadow Treasurer is talking them down. It's clear Labor’s right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
The Government is focused on the quality of our trade agreements and the outcomes we can achieve for Australian exporters. If the Shadow Trade Minister prefers speed over quality, Australians need to ask: what would Labor give away just to get a notch in their belt?
The Coalition Government will continue to negotiate trade agreements in Australia’s interest.
- Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555