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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
All the Way with the USA: Australia, t/Capling, Ann/Paper/0868409766/S009-F
When Australia signed a free trade agreement with the United States, Prime Minister John Howard hailed it as an historic achievement that would add "enormous long-term benefits to the Australian economy". Senator Bob Brown called it "a disaster".
No trade agreement has aroused greater controversy in Australia's history. It affects domestic policy in areas such as culture, public health and copyright, while producing only meagre gains for Australian exporters. And it represents a departure from the long-standing bipartisan commitment to free trade between all countries in favour of special deals between "friends".
In this lively and topical book, Ann Capling traces the evolution of Australian trade policy and examines the key issues raised by the agreement. Why did Australia agree to a deal that so patently failed to meet the government's own objectives? How will the agreement affect relations with our other trade partners, especially those in East Asia? What are the implications of linking trade and security? Will the agreement strengthen our ties with the United States, leading to more investment and jobs in Australia? Or will it diminish our capacity to provide social programs that reflect Australian values?