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JSCOT rubber stamp for ChAFTA another example of how the treaty making process is broken

“Today, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has rubber-stamped the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) without any independent analysis of the costs and benefits of the Agreement,” said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens spokesperson on Trade,

“Even according to the government’s own analysis this deal will supposedly create only a few thousand jobs over the next twenty years and cost billions in revenue.

“Australia’s treaty-making process is broken, and the China-Australia Free-Trade Agreement is a case in point. ChAFTA was negotiated in secret. At no stage was the Australian Parliament, or the people it represents, asked why we would be seeking to negotiate this agreement or what we wanted from it.

“At no stage was the expertise or insights of businesses, unions, academics or a host of other interest parties called upon to help inform the government on the implications of the deal, at least not in any publicly transparent way. ChAFTA has been initiated and agreed to by the executive, and presented to parliament as a take-it-or-leave-it prospect.

“The Greens are particularly concerned about the labour provisions, the loss of billions in tariff revenue and the open-ended Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions. At no stage has the government or JSCOT sought an independent assessment of the costs versus benefits of this agreement.

“In its current form, ChAFTA is not a good deal. It is not in our national interest, and should not be supported,” he concluded.

Greens dissenting report can be found here (pdf).

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