September 05, 2015 | Graham

ChAFTA about levelling the playing field

I don’t understand the debate about ChAFTA.

What ChAFTA does is allow Australia more access to China, after we unlitaterally extended that courtesy to China years ago.

It is about levelling the playing field for everyone which will create more jobs all around.

Yet the ALP, true to form under this regime, is only interested in protecting the jobs of a few privileged unionists earning 6 figure sums.

It doesn’t seem to care about the unskilled workers who will win jobs under this agreement, or the unemployed who will have a chance at work and self-respect again.

No, if you aren’t, for example, a CFMEU chippy working on a highrise development and earning twice the salary of a teacher, you don’t matter.

What’s fair about that?

And if you doubt me that Australia unilaterally and dramatically lowered its trade barriers, have a look at the graph below.

Graph from

As a result of this we already use a lot of Chinese labour. It is embedded in the clothes on our back, the appliances in our kitchens and living rooms, the shoes on our feet, the cars and buses we ride in, the manufacturing inputs in the industries where we still manufacture, and on and on.

What ChAFTA will do is produce jobs in industries where we have an advantage, and can export to China, such as dairy, an industry just recovering after a bout of necessary deregulation.

New Zealand has already negotiated a free trade agreement with China, and the benefits to their dairy industry have been incalculable.It’s one of the powerhouses of their economy.

Investors are already looking for dairying opportunities around aouth-east Queensland, in anticipation of the free trade agreement, which will produce much-needed economic activity here.

But apparently Queensland doesn’t matter either.

NZ has a headstart on us, and we don’t want too many other nations to get a similar headstart or we will miss out on the early adopter advantage.

The Labor position appears to be that unless we get a clear advantage on every part of the trade agreement, then it is not a good trade agreement.

But that’s not the meaning of the word trade. It’s by giving and taking that economic progress occurs in the first place.

It’s not all give, but neither is it all take, unless perhaps you are the CFMEU.

Posted by Graham at 4:19 pm | Comments (2) |


  1. to start, it’s not a free trade agreement, it’s a regulated trade agreement between two nations, precisely what free trade is not.
    the current absurd cost of a home is wrecking oz society, and one of the drivers of that cost is chinese hot money, let in to oz by a government who sees temporary electoral advantage in that policy.
    i see no disadvantage in keeping the profits of australian business within australia, to fund future development. this ‘free trade’ agreement will guarantee those profits go to china

    Comment by al loomis — September 9, 2015 @ 10:45 am

  2. Dear Graham,

    As you seem quite knowledgeable in the area would you be able to answer a question for me.

    Dr Shen Giuyin, from China’s Ministry of Agriculture, spoke of the unrest within the Chinese dairy sector about that agreement;

    “They don’t like it. When the free trade agreement is signed, we expect to import a lot of dairy products from Australia. I think China is sacrificing the dairy sector to promote free trade.”

    Where was the Australian government official prepared to explain where the pain will be felt within our own economy?

    It is very hard to escape the conclusion that pressure from the mining giants and the Nationals will result in an agreement servicing the interests of both these groups rather than ordinary Australians.

    Given that for every million dollars of manufacturing export dollars there are two and a half times more jobs embedded than the equivalent million dollars earned from mining and a whopping 5 times that of agriculture I can well understand that there will be jobs sacrificed to line the pockets of miners and farming conglomerates.

    I suppose it is the prerogative of those in power to write these agreements, I for one though would appreciate some honesty on its true impacts, we certainly aren’t getting any at the moment.

    Comment by Steeleredux — September 14, 2015 @ 12:06 pm

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