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China Deal Signals Serious Issues for Workers

China Deal Signals Serious Issues for Workers

The opening of negotiations for a free trade agreement with China raises a raft of serious issues for New Zealand workers, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

The Government has announced that New Zealand and China have agreed on a formal Trade and Economic Co-operation Framework under which talks for a free trade agreement will begin next year.

Unions would seek assurances from the Government that tariff protection for the textile, clothing and footwear sector would be maintained until 2010 as already agreed, Ross Wilson said.

“We also want an assurance that core ILO conventions on labour standards will be promoted and enforced, and that there will be effective protection against dumping,” he said.

The CTU acknowledged that today’s announcement was the beginning of a process, Ross Wilson said, “but it is important that principles and protections are not sacrificed for some ‘holy grail’ of improved agricultural access to China.

“The multi-lateral system remains the best prospect for fairer world trade and we need to work with the G21 countries to change the dynamic and rules of the WTO system.”

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