Industry pushes for China FTA ratification

Three industry groups will today launch a national campaign to inform the public of the benefits of the China FTA, as calls for changes to the deal grow louder.

The campaign by the National Farmers' Federation, the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will aim to explain that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will be good for Australian jobs and economic opportunities.

 The campaign urges the Federal Parliament to ratify the agreement before the end of the year, ensuring Australia benefits from more rapid tariff reductions.

However, there is opposition to the deal in its current form. Unions and others are concerned that, under the deal, Chinese companies will be able to bring in their own workforce on projects worth $150 million and over.

As the AFR reports, Senators John Madigan, Nick Xenophon, Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus along with the Greens voted in August for the free trade deal to be modified or abandoned.

Kate Carnell, CEO of the ACCI, said it was disappointing some groups created community fears that the agreement would lead to unqualified overseas workers.

"Their scaremongering is damaging to Australia's interests and our relationship with China, a key trading partner," she said in a statemet. "Many Australian small businesses are exploring export opportunities and China has enormous potential as a destination, so it is vital we make it as easy as possible for them."