Trade unions and Australian Greens on Monday raised concerns over the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade deal, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard insisted the deal will mean more business and more jobs for Australia.
Leaders of nine APEC countries, including Australia and U.S., have reached a broad agreement on the free-trade pact, Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP), which sets out to eliminate all tariffs and introduce new uniform labor and intellectual property standards across the Asia-Pacific.
The Coalition supports the idea, and that Australia must continue to expand its export markets, especially as there had been a lack of progress in negotiating a multilateral agreement through the Doha Round of world trade talks, while the Greens have warned it should not disadvantage Australia.
Australian Greens deputy leader Christine Milne said the TPP is biased towards the U.S.
"The United States, which is driving this agenda, is coming back to get what it didn't succeed in getting through the US- Australia free trade agreement," Senator Milne said in a statement.
Labor senator Doug Cameron agreed, saying more scrutiny was needed, because normally the big players get the best deal, such as the U,S, when they sign an agreement with Australia.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Dave Oliver said he was particularly worried about the potential impact on the pharmaceutical industry.