who needs a free trade agreement with the us!!

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    By Ralph Wragg ... RWE Publisher

    Sydney - Friday - July 4: While the Americans are hard at work
    espousing a free trade agreement with Australia as a reward for becoming
    an ally of the coalition, it isn't quite working out that way.
    The goal posts on the level playing field have apparently been
    moved towards the American end of the paddock.
    Take the case of Australia's long-held wheat trade with Iraq
    operating even while Saddam Hussein was in power although there were
    threats to cut us off.
    After the war, the Americans have been on the doorstep trying to
    muscle in on the business.
    Now the US has hit on another ploy.
    When US subsidies, known as ETI, were banned by the World Trade
    Organisation, Congress drew up a replacement bill called the Jobs
    Protection Act, which in reality is a 3.5 per cent tax break to offset
    the lifting of subsidies that will save the US Government about $50
    billion over the next 10 years.
    The Bill is expected to pass through Congress this month under
    the guise of protecting US jobs.
    All American exporters will participate in this new handout.
    But the Administration is still facing lobbying from steel
    producers, cattlemen and the grain industries seeking protection.
    The Australian Government has so far ignored this latest move of
    the goal posts in its forthcoming free trade talks in Hawaii.
    The Europeans are already frothing at the mouth over this little
    bit of artful dodging.
    They will retaliate and levy tariffs on US exporters starting
    next January.
    On top of all this, Australia's domestic motor vehicle industry
    will suffer, according to a Citigroup survey.
    An AAP story quoting Citigroup claims production from Australian
    car makers would fall as they were exposed to tougher US competition.
    Citigroup admitted that the Free Trade Agreement was unlikely to
    cut all American farm protection despite claims of full liberalisation.
    According to the AAP story, there was likely to be pressure on
    Australia to change its quarantine system and do away with a number of
    its export monopolies, including wheat.
    About the only concession we might have a chance of gaining from
    the FTA talks is access to US markets, which are still highly
    competitive.
    ENDS

 
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