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China to deliver speech about ChaFTA

Marking 100 days since the agreement was signed in Canberra, Chinese ambassador Ma Zhaoxu will issue a statement about the free trade agreement between Australia and China.

According to an exclusive report by The Australian, Mr Ma will warn the deal “should not be allowed to slip through our fingers”.

Mr Ma is expected to tell a meeting of Australia’s leaders in Melbourne that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which is strongly opposed by the Labor party and unions, represents a “hard-won and historic opportunity”.

“The sooner the ChAFTA comes into force, the quicker it will benefit producers and consumers in both countries,” Mr Ma will say.

The speech comes after a lack of support for the agreement by the opposition, who hold concerns that the ChaFTA will see Chinese companies importing workers for cheap labour, costing Australian jobs.

Meanwhile, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) released a statement yesterday, slamming the announcement by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton regarding the availability of 1500 Work and Holiday visas.

The union said the announcement that 1500 visas were offered to young Chinese Nationals under a program under the ChaFTA deal makes a “mockery” of new PM Malcolm Turnbull’s promise of a “new and consultative” government.

National Secretary of the CFMEU Michael O’Connor said the free trade agreement has not yet been ratified by the Australian Parliament but the new Turnbull Government has steamrolled through one of its most controversial measures.

“Youth unemployment is close to 14 per cent and there are already 1.2 million people currently in Australia from overseas with working visa rights,” he said.

“Malcolm Turnbull promised a new ‘consultative approach’ but the government did not discuss this measure with either the opposition or the cross-benchers.

“Did they read the report of their own committee looking into the China Free Trade Agreement?

“The government pretends these are holiday visas but its own department, Austrade, has admitted that the vast majority of people on so called working holiday visas are here to work.

“The Turnbull Government is selling out young Australians, and the betrayal reveals much about how they intend to govern.”

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