Aussie Government to Oppose Palm Oil Labelling

MELBOURNE: The Australian Government will oppose a

Liberal-National Party coalition-supported anti-trade Private Member’s

Bill on compulsory palm oil labelling as it would breach Australia’s

obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Trade

Minister Dr Craig Emerson told Parliament on Tuesday, the Bill,

sponsored by independent Senator Nick Xenophon and the Australian

Greens, was likely to pass the House of Representatives with the support

of the coalition.

Emerson said the Bill passed the Senate

following the personal intervention of coalition leader Tony Abbott, who

is widely tipped to be Australia’s next prime minister.

“Coalition

members of the relevant Senate inquiry joined with Labor senators in

recommending against the Bill, but their position was reversed following

Abbott’s personal intervention,” he said.

He said all of Abbott’s instincts were interventionist and protectionist.

“This

latest anti-trade move by the coalition comes hard on the heels of the

Shadow Agriculture Minister’s Bill seeking to overturn a WTO ruling that

New Zealand apples be allowed into Australia subject to

scientifically-based quarantine conditions,” he said.

Emerson

said the government refused to deal with the coalition on the apples

Bill and would not negotiate with Abbott on the palm oil Bill.

“Abbott

wants to load up food processing companies with a A$150 million (RM468

million) cost burden and risk a trade war with Malaysia and Indonesia,”

he said.

He said Abbott’s personal support for yet another

anti-trade, anti-business Bill showed how reckless he was on economic

and trade policy.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia had warned they would take action against Australia at the WTO if the Bill were passed. – Bernama

Source: Business Times

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