Joint Media Release
SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
JOEL FITZGIBBON MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE MEMBER FOR HUNTER
ABBOTT RUSH ON JAPAN FTA JEOPARDISES OUTCOMES
Prime Minister Tony Abbott must guarantee Australias farmers that they will benefit from genuine improvements in market access under any trade agreement with Japan.
Rural Liberal MPs have raised concerns in the Coalition party room that dairy and beef producers will miss out because of the Prime Ministers rush to sign a free trade agreement with Japan.
According to news reports, Liberal MPs said the Government was getting nowhere on beef and dairy in negotiations with Japan.
The MPs said the Prime Minister was willing to accept a downgraded economic partnership agreement rather than a genuine trade agreement with Japan.
A trade agreement with Japan represents a unique opportunity for Australian businesses but only if the Abbott Government negotiates sound outcomes.
This opportunity must not be squandered by a Prime Minister rushing to sign a deal with Japan at any cost.
Coalition MPs have now caught up with Labor on this issue.
Labors concern remains that Mr Abbott will accept a second-rate agreement for the sake of getting a deal for his political trophy cabinet rather than negotiating real benefits for Australian exporters.
Australia needs a comprehensive, high-quality free trade agreement with Japan which improves market access for our agricultural and non-agricultural goods sectors and our services industries.
What is important is not the size of the delegation Mr Abbott takes to Japan but the quality of the deal he brings home.