Political Guts

Tariffs - Reciprocal
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An unjust method of controlling trade and imports

There are some very closed economies and countries around this planet, with really the only opening available to tourists prepared to leave their Australian or US Dollars or English Pounds or Euros behind when they leave.  At the same time, Australia is often criticized for being closed to boat people, refugees, and imports from developing countries and migration.

Taking a look at it from a step back, the picture is different to what it appears.  South East Asia, despite the conventions of the Lima Declaration, is a difficult place to enter as an Australian or Foreign business, with foreign intervention, input or exporting fiercely resisted with cultural, trading and logistical barriers.  Some are openly hostile to anything that resembles foreign investment with even a hint of external control at the expense of local ownership or control.

However, the exports of cheap, copied and sometimes pirated copied goods and dumping on markets around the rest of the world under the auspices of the Lima Declaration and similar philosophies reeks of a lack of trading ethics.  Many western manufacturers look to these areas and others on the sub-continent for manufacturing capacity and find their designs disappear, or being mass produced and exported long before their nominated manufacturer produces their goods to a suitable quality standard, or at all.  Meanwhile, their design is gone, with patents and copyrights violated and the perpetrators of the crimes not recognising the laws established elsewhere to protect against such fraud.

When a closer look is taken at the quality of the food exports in particular, we find that in many cases, a majority of these exports are contaminated with chemicals long banned around the rest of the world, and/or they are dumped at vastly cheaper prices onto markets where shortages of supply mean that even this low quality, contaminated product has a buyer.

However, when the reverse is applied and exports to those countries is suggested, huge tariffs apply which make it a wasted exercise, or standards are applied that make it almost impossible to qualify for.

A simple solution exists, amid a framework of importing policies including:

  • Absolute discretion of a revised and up rated AQIS type body as to whether a product violates any biohazard, disease or ecological pest threat.
  • Testing to ensure that the product does not contravene any contamination or chemical residue or components prohibited under our local laws and guidelines.
  • Customs screening at a high level for contraband or other prohibited imports or imports not as described on the shipping manifests.
  • Anti-dumping guidelines to ensure that excess, waste, second quality or product of improper manufacturing practices is not imported.
  • Tariff reciprocity to ensure that local product is competitive on a quality and cost of manufacturing basis.
  • Apply a 'wages disparity' factor to ensure an appropriate cost base is used to decide on whether product is being dumped.

With these safeguards in place, a more fair and equitable trading environment is likely.  However, within the “Lima Declaration”, it is understood that these points are mostly in contravention of that agreement.  Australia needs to re-evaluate where it now stands in relation to that agreement.  If the agreement was examined in light of the Australian Constitution, it would probably not be legal to have signed it.

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