[clug] FTA article

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at nicta.com.au
Wed Jul 21 03:33:29 GMT 2004


> Why Latham should reject the FTA
> This so-called free trade agreement is a humiliating sell-out, says 
> Tim Colebatch.

Interesting take and one of the most anti-FTA articles I have seen.  
Points out the real meat of the FTA:

>  This is really half a free trade agreement. It will mean free trade 
> for American exports to Australia. The day the agreement begins, 99 
> per cent of US exports will enter Australia duty-free, with complete 
> free trade within 10 years. But it will not mean free trade for 
> Australian exports to the US: not ever. The US will retain a ban on 
> exports of Australia's world-leading fast ferries. It will limit 
> Australia's sugar exports to token levels. It will exclude most 
> Australian textile exports by tailor-made rules of origin.
>  The US will still severely limit Australian dairy exports. And it 
> will maintain indefinitely quotas on Australian exports of beef and 30 
> or so other areas of farm produce - openly for 18 years, and then 
> reappear like Cheshire cats whenever US prices fall significantly, 
> which analysts say happens every couple of years.
>  How could any Australian government agree to such a lopsided deal? We 
> are proud to be a nation that walks tall, treats others as equals, and 
> demands the same of them. Could you imagine Sir John McEwen, Bob Hawke 
> or Paul Keating accepting this cringing, second-rate outcome? It is a 
> humiliating sell-out.


And about IP:

>  The third red line Howard crossed to get this deal in time for the 
> election was in agreeing to adopt US laws to protect copyright and 
> other forms of intellectual property. This could mean absurdities such 
> as accepting the patent a US firm has claimed on double-clicking your 
> computer mouse, and endless litigation as US giants try to stamp out 
> competition from Australia's open source software creators.
>  A knowledge economy needs to lean towards encouraging flexibility and 
> innovation, not rewarding rent-seekers. We should be reducing the 
> length of copyright and patent terms, not increasing them. And rather 
> than signing away our right to use offset programs and government 
> purchasing to develop new industries, we should have kept them out of 
> this deal. Instead, we have ended up with a free trade agreement that 
> does not deliver free trade, and instead invades a range of non-trade 
> areas where our American friends frankly have no business to be.

Kim Holburn
IT Manager, Canberra Research Laboratory
National Information and Communication Technology Australia
Ph: +61 2 61258620 M: +61 417820641
Email: kim.holburn at anu.edu.au  - PGP Public Key on request
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                           -- Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Analog, Apr 1961

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