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China Deal Threatens Future of Manufacturing


China Deal Threatens Future of Manufacturing

A free trade agreement with China puts thousands of manufacturing jobs, and the future of the sector, at risk, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

Speaking at the Gateway to China trade summit in Auckland today, Ross Wilson acknowledged that an FTA with China may open up big opportunities in the primary production and processing sector.

But he warned that it was important not to “talk up” these potential gains while “talking down” the loss to manufacturing.

“FTA enthusiasts may argue that if the benefits exceed the costs, then those who suffer as a consequence should be given transitional assistance or time to adjust,” he said. “But that approach accepts that New Zealand does not have a serious future in general manufacturing.”

Unions were also concerned that the Government included labour rights for Chinese workers in the free trade agreement, Ross Wilson told the conference.

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