Free Trade Agreements are to enrich Non-Australians

   There are many reasons for opposing the Free Trade Agreements that are being signed or negotiated by the Executive Government of Australia. The Singapore one is particularly dangerous, because its result will be to replace Australian workers from the cheap Asian labour market (as is happening to the downtrodden Mexican ex-peasants under the NAFTA).
   The danger is greater in Australia, because of the closer proximity of the downtrodden Asian workers. Australian business is already suffering from a long-term loss of consumers of the 10 per cent (real figures) or so who are unemployed and underemployed.
   But the most surprising of all is Canberra's invitation to about 100 United States negotiators. Why are we talking to them? The U.S. under the unelected Bush "thumbed its nose" at free trade a few months ago when the Congress greatly increased the subsidies on agricultural products, thus continuing its policy of artificially depressing world prices on staples, and so pushing Australian and Third World farmers deeper and deeper into debt.
   Another danger is, that some United States companies act more like predators than like ordinary competitors. A recent example is in The West Australian, "WA teddy designers grin and bear it," by Anne Calverley, Sat. March 15 2003, p 3.
   (QUOTE) TEDDY bear design sparked a legal battle between a Perth toy store and a United States retail giant -- a battle that eventually was settled out of court in November.
   But details of the agreement have not been made public.
   The Build-a-Bear Workshop based in St Louis, Missouri, had accused Richard and Roseleigh White of imitating its product designs and passing them off as their own.
   The Mandurah couple run a retail outlet called the Bear Kids Workshop at Carousel shopping centre in Cannington. (END OF QUOTE)
   The newsitem goes on to say that this "retail giant" began as a small company in 1997.
Do you think that is possible to grow from a small firm to be a giant, unless there is some HUGE finance behind it? Anyway, my wife asked "How much profit would there be in the Teddy Bear industry?" So, ask yourself, is this case like that a few years ago of the fish and chip shop lady who made batter and sold it under her own surname, only to have a multinational order her to stop, because one of their brand names happened to be the same surname?
   Weren't both these threats by lawyers aimed at removing competitors from the market, and to terrorise small business? What has the "Competition Policy" and Professor Fels of Australia done about these unjust actions?
   Five days after the "Teddy Bear Wars" newsitem, there was another leakage of what the ongoing "Trade Wars" are about. It was in The West Australian, "America has wheat, medicine in sights," by Alan Thornhill, Canberra, Thursday, March 20 2003, p 36. Here is a little:
   (QUOTE) AUSTRALIA'S pharmaceutical benefits scheme will be a United States target in talks aimed at drawing up a free trade agreement between the two countries. So will Australia's so-called single-desk, or farmer-controlled monopoly system, for selling its wheat overseas. A senior US trade negotiator has confirmed that he has both subjects in his sights for the tough talks that lie ahead. The assistant US trade representative for the Asia Pacific and APEC, Ralph Ives, met reporters briefly in Canberra on Monday. (END OF QUOTE)
   So, our free medicines will be taken by companies that would not even give a concession on AIDS medications to poverty-stricken African countries, until they threatened to defy them.
   Might I suggest that back in the 1880s and 1890s Australians had a healthy suspicion of London academics and business people urging Australia to have free trade (Sydney did), and you ought to pledge yourself to vote against Washington's plutocrats who sing the same tune, with the same greed in mind.
This protest down to the end of the first quotation was e-mailed to the 12 Western Australian senators, and the full text will be mailed to Graham Edwards, MHR, from John Massam, Greenwood, on April 3 2003
http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/freetrade.htm
Want to help Australia's industries? Contact StopMAI (WA) Coalition at http://members.iinet.net.au/~jenks/CV16.html or 42 Central Avenue, Beaconsfield WA 6162, Australia, Tel. Brian Jenkins 08 9528 1864 or Dion Giles 08 9201 2884. Ring for direction to monthly meetings on last Saturday of the month.
and contact Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) at www.aftinet.org.au
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