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New Moves On Global Trade

  • November 26th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

rudd_22aafor-web.jpgProspects for the Rudd Labor government elected on 24.11.07.

Labor’s trade spokesman, Simon Crean, last month (3.10.07) foreshadowed a renewed push by Australia in international commerce, both as an export drive and support, still, for the level playing field – with a new focus on European options.

GROWING THE TRADE LINKS WITH EUROPE

“While we often talk about the importance of strengthening economic ties with our Asian neighbours, we would be very foolish indeed to ignore opportunities to grow our trade links in Europe,” he said.

“Australia’s two-way trade with Europe in 2006 totaled A$56.7-billion with exports to Europe of A$20.3-billion and imports from Europe of A$36.5-billion.

“In recent years Australia’s export performance has not been as strong as in the previous two decades.”

He said Australia had suffered 65 monthly trade deficits in a row, contributing to foreign debt.

CHANGED POSITIONS ON TRADE TALKS

Mr Crean emphasised differences with the previous government on trade, promising collaboration with the European Union to try to revive the stalled Doha Round of negotiations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“Labor holds firm to the belief that multinational trade negotiations should be accorded the highest priority,” he said.

“Multinational negotiations are a hard slog.

“In government during the 1980s and early 1990s Labor demonstrated a stronger track record of not shying away from the hard work.

“We established, resourced and led the Cairns group to give Australia a stronger voice at the negotiating table during the Uruguay Round.

“We were prime movers in the establishment of APEC and worked to ensure that it had a purely economic and trade agenda.

“We were able to use APEC to deliver the Bogor goals of free and open trade and investment for developed countries by 2010 and for developing countries by 2020.

“We didn’t use APEC to by-pass the Uruguay Round; we used APEC to enhance the outcomes of the Uruguay Round.

NUMBER ONE PRIORITY

“It is through multinational negotiations that large scale progress can be achieved in breaking down the barriers to trade that exist in so many current and potential markets.

“That is why we can’t afford to give up on the Doha Round and why Labor in government would make it our number one priority.

“And why we are keen to work with the European Union and with European governments to achieve a satisfactory multilateral outcome.

“Recent discussions I have had with Pascal Lamy and other leaders have given me a deal of hope that with hard work and good will an outcome can be achieved early next year, although the time lines are very tight.”

Reference:

Simon Crean, Labor Trade Spokesman, Speech to the European Australian Business Council, 3.10.07. http://www.alp.org.au/media/1007/spetra030.php, (21.11.07)

Picture: Prime Minister elect Kevin Rudd

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