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Free Trade - Not

Entry 273, on 2006-01-19 at 14:42:29 (Rating 3, Politics)

We all want a free trade deal with the World's big powers, especially the USA, don't we? After all, free trade is a great thing which benefits everyone involved and we should encourage it as much as possible, isn't that right? And its the only way we can save the world from poverty - of course that's right!

Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The theory and practice of free trade are entirely different things. There is considerable doubt whether free trade in its purest form is of any real overall benefit, but the version of (so-called) free trade currently being pushed by big powers like the USA and the EU certainly doesn't benefit all groups involved.

The sad truth of this is confirmed by a recent report regarding Australia's recent free trade deal with America. It turns out that the US gets plenty of free trade into Australia, but there are many reasons (all of them totally reasonable, I'm sure - not!) why the reverse doesn't apply.

The figures for the first 10 months of 2005 showed that Australia’s exports to the US have actually slipped, while US exports to Australia have grown substantially, increasing the trade gap by about $A1 billion to over $A10 billion. Now why did Australia want this deal again?

Many groups in New Zealand have pushed for a deal with America, and have suggested policies, such as our ban on US nuclear ship visits, should be abandoned to facilitate this. Well I haven't seen a lot to convince me that free trade is a desirable thing. Let's stick to sensible policies which take account of local conditions instead of following some unproven ideology which just makes the rich even richer.

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