The “Great Benefits” from Free Trade Agreements by Tom North
The information which one can obtain from your local member can be instructive. One of our supporters wrote to his local member asking about recent cuts to dairy prices and potential assistance to the industry. The letter, in part, said:
“I referred specifically to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (Articles 3 and 5) and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (Article 13 and Annex 2).
These agreements prohibit governments from providing subsidies or direct assistance to businesses which can then influence the export performance of a product, or preference domestic over imported products.”
So, a 50 c/L levy on milk, that would save our local dairy farmers, would breach these agreements. But, other nations only give a nodding glance at these agreements, which are basically only for the West to hold to, so both hands are tied behind our backs. It does not take long surfing the net to find vast literature on Chinese protectionism of industry and agriculture. Even Obama accused China of protecting its car industry, contrary to WTO dictates. Indeed, much industry in China is based on the communist state-run enterprises, so there is not even a sharp distinction between public and private, which is presupposed by the WTO documents.
These WTO Trade Agreements and other agreements such as the TPP are a recipe for Australian economic suicide.
I see nothing wrong with protectionism. It is free trade and the world view promoted by WTO, which allows the global corporations to rape and pillage entire nations, which must be critiqued and defeated.