Wednesday, October 31 2012
Greens Call for Triple Bottom Line Approach to Free Trade Agreements.
The Australian Greens do not believe the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement should proceed because of the continuing reluctance of the Government to provide any analysis of the full social and economic impacts of free trade agreements, citing their dissenting report released today.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements were predominantly being used as tools of diplomacy at the expense of the consideration of the economic, social and environmental impacts following the release of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report into the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
“Without a proper independent evaluation process in place it’s difficult for the outcomes and impacts of these agreements to be analysed,” Senator Whish-Wilson stated.
“The Greens have consistently called for further analysis that takes into account both the economic and social impacts of free trade agreements.
“The Productivity Commission Research report, Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements, released in December 2010 provided an important contribution to this debate.
“It both casts doubt on the dominant paradigm that existing Free Trade Agreements always provide economic benefits, and its policy recommendations about independent evaluation and transparency shouldn’t be pushed aside by Governments when considering trade agreements.
“The negotiation of trade agreements necessarily involve trade-offs that can have far ranging impacts on individuals who are employed in certain industries and on Australia as a whole.
“Enhanced transparency of negotiations and independent analysis would stimulate debate about whether existing trade-offs are in Australia’s interest and this is necessary to facilitate the development of a comprehensive approach to Australian trade policy.”