SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

7 June 2016

LABOR WILL GENERATE JOBS THROUGH TRADE AND INVESTMENT

TOPICS: INVESTMENT, TRADE

A Shorten Labor Government will pursue trade and investment policies that support Australian jobs and living standards by opening up new markets, driving exports into those markets, and attracting new investment.

Labor understands that as the Australian economy transitions out of the mining boom we need to find other sources of growth and jobs.

We will realise the export potential of sophisticated Australian services industries such as education, tourism, and financial and professional services.

Advanced manufacturing firms will access the global value chains that are reshaping international production.

Our farmers and food processors will supply more high-value Australian food to the rapidly growing countries of Asia.

We will reduce the red tape that is a barrier to investment and Australian jobs.

A Shorten Labor Government will negotiate high-quality international trade agreements that reduce tariffs, quotas and “behind the border” barriers to trade.

We will do so while maintaining Australia’s right to adopt sound public policies in areas such as health care, environmental protection, fair working conditions and job opportunities for Australian workers.

Our plan for tackling barriers to Australian exports

Labor will seek to boost exports by adopting a strategic approach to promoting trade and exports.

A Shorten Labor Government will conduct a regular Trade Barriers Analysis to identify barriers to Australian exports, including non-tariff “behind the border” barriers.

Labor will tackle red tape by working with Australia’s trading partners to achieve readily understood and more consistent rules of origin. This will determine whether Australian goods qualify for preferential access to key export markets.

Labor will work with key Asian trading partners to implement reforms that encourage more trade by reducing costs and becoming more efficient.

Labor will work to find new pathways for multilateral trade reform, to strengthen the role of the World Trade Organisation and to revive progress on key objectives of the Doha Round, including freeing up global trade in agriculture and eliminating market-distorting subsidies for farm goods.

Our plan for attracting investment

A Shorten Labor Government will make Australia more attractive for investors and support jobs by liberalising screening thresholds for the farm and food sectors.

Labor will:

· Increase the screening threshold for investment in agricultural land to $50 million (non-cumulative), bringing all investors into line with the agricultural land threshold under the Howard Government’s trade agreements with Singapore and Thailand.
· Remove the agribusiness screening category – a reform that will put agribusiness on the same footing as other industries.
· Review the current system’s discriminatory treatment of investments in non-sensitive sectors by investors from Singapore, Thailand and non-FTA trading partners, as well as the treatment of agricultural land under the Foreign Investment Review Board framework.

Under Labor, all proposed investments by foreign governments and state-owned enterprises will continue to be subject to screening, regardless of its value.
Our plan to put people first in trade policy

Labor will end the secrecy surrounding trade negotiations, committing to new levels of transparency to build community confidence and ensure government is accountable.

A Shorten Labor Government will improve consultation and transparency by:

· Disclosing the Government’s goals at the commencement of negotiations.
· Providing public updates on each round of negotiations.
· Engaging in more intensive consultation with a wider range of stakeholders.
· Engaging in more intensive consultation and briefings with parliamentarians.
· Releasing draft texts during negotiations where this is feasible.
· Tabling the text of proposed agreements in Parliament before signing the agreements.

A Shorten Labor Government will not agree to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in new trade agreements.

A Labor Government will seek to remove or reform these provisions in existing trade agreements, through negotiation with Australia’s trading partners.

We will work to ensure ISDS provisions do not prevent governments from pursuing legitimate public policies.

For more information on Labor’s trade and investment policy, visit http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/generating_jobs_through_trade_and_investment