SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

21 July 2015

CHINA FTA: THE FACTS ANDREW ROBB DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

TOPIC: CHINA FTA

Andrew Robb’s department has issued a “fact sheet” on the China Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Here is the inconvenient truth about Mr Robb’s trade deal:

MYTH: ChAFTA will not allow unrestricted access to the Australian labour market by Chinese workers. DFAT “fact sheet”

REALITY: In respect of the specific commitments on temporary entry in this Chapter… neither Party shall: (a) impose or maintain any limitations on the total number of visas to be granted to natural persons of the other Party; or (b) require labour market testing, economic needs testing or other procedures of similar effect as a condition for temporary entry. Chapter 10, Movement of Natural Persons, China Australia FTA

MYTH: Under IFAs [Investment Facilitation Agreements] Australian workers will continue to be given first opportunity. DFAT “fact sheet”

REALITY: There will be no requirement for labour market testing to enter into an IFA. Memorandum of Understanding on IFAs

MYTH: ChAFTA does not change the required skills levels for Chinese visa applicants. DFAT “fact sheet”

REALITY: Australia will remove the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for the following ten occupations on the date of entry into force of the Agreement: Automotive Electrician… Cabinetmaker… Carpenter… Carpenter and Joiner… Diesel Motor Mechanic…  Electrician (General)… Electrician (Special Class)… Joiner… Motor Mechanic (General)… Motorcycle Mechanic. Side letter on skills assessment and testing

MYTH: ISDS does not protect an investor from a mere loss of profits following a change in government policy or regulation. DFAT “fact sheet”

REALITY:Philip Morris Asia is challenging Australia’s tobacco plain packaging legislation under an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism in the 1993 Investment Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Hong Kong. Philip Morris Asia is arguing that Australia’s tobacco plain packaging measure constitutes an expropriation of its Australian investments. Tobacco plain packaging—investor-state arbitration, Attorney-General’s Department

MYTH: Australia is “open for business” under the Abbott Government.

REALITY: Over the past 18 months the Abbott Government has turned away foreign investors, introduced a lower screening threshold for foreign investment in agricultural land, imposed a raft of new application fees, charges and penalties on foreign investors that will gouge an extra $735 million in application fees alone over the next four years. A new exposure draft foreign investment bill confirms the Abbott Government’s red tape run around for foreign investors.