New deal puts interests of overseas companies above Australia

Australian Council of Trade Unions


Friday, 6 December 2013

New deal puts interests of overseas companies above Australia

A new free trade deal with Korea could see Australian government policy held hostage to the interests of foreign corporations, the ACTU warned today.

The deal signed by the Federal Government includes a provision allowing Korean firms to sue Australia if their business interests are potentially jeopardised.

It also gives a boost to the Korean car market at the same time as the Government is refusing to step in and ensure the future viability of our own car manufacturing future.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said, "This deal will see cheaper Korean vehicles being sold in Australia while our own industry sufferers and the Government refuses to step in a save it."

"Being 'open for business' should be a two way street that includes protecting our own industries not just making life easier for overseas companies."

"This deal will see important decisions around corporate tax increases or industry regulation made not in the national interest but in the interests of overseas companies.

"Healthy trade relationships are critical to our economic wellbeing," said Ms Kearney.

"But the provision allowing Korean firms to take legal action against the Australian government over possible impacts on their business activities is an alarming trade off.

"Australian governments must be free to make decisions about the economy and industry activity without the threat of being sued by overseas firms.

"We need governments with the backbone to stand up to corporate interests to make sure Australians get the jobs and economic return we deserve - not governments held hostage to the profits of overseas investors.

"This is a dangerous development and we call on Cabinet to stand firm and reject the agreement." 

Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 and Eleni Hale 0418 793 885