“Australia’s free trade agreement with China will change Australia for the better, it will change China for the better, and it will change our region and our world for the better,” says Tony Abbott in an opinion feature published in the Courier Mail last week.
This past week, while some politicians sided with the CFMEU in denouncing the China FTA, including Clive Palmer who attracted publicity with his suggestion that deaths might result from admitting unqualified overseas workers, the PM contributed a more positive view in his Courier Mail article:
“It will secure the jobs of generations of Australians to come. It will provide massive new markets for our entrepreneurs. It will provide investment opportunities that will enrich both peoples.” He highlighted the benefits to agriculture, mining, banking, insurance and wine industries, referring to other recently signed agreements. “Our FTAs with South Korea and Japan are only months old and yet we are already seeing increased exports…” He concluded with the observation, “We are in the right place at the right time with the right spirit and as far as I am concerned, we must and we will seize this moment.” (Source: The Courier Mail, August 17, 2015, Opinion p. 21).
One thing appears certain: Australia’s economy is more closely linked than ever to that of China. The Chinese Shanghai share market has dropped close to 15% over the past month, following data showing China’s factory output is falling. Right now there is downward pressure on the Australian dollar, which is caught in the crossfire of a number of currencies. Most importantly there is an enormous appetite in China for what Australia has to offer, and there are more positives than negatives in our mutual trading future.