I must admit I've never really understood the mechanics of a Free Trade Agreement with the Yanks.
Mostly I've puzzled over - and doubted - whether we're likely to get better - or equal - outcomes over agriculture and how this could be possible in the face of the massive US farm lobby. Who for instance, don't want us lobbing cheap, high quality, madness-free meat on their waterfronts.
Add to that the not insignificant ingredient - the Yank negotiators aren't stupid. They, just like our negotiators, aren't about to cede an advantage in deal balance. Both sides would be thinking - you give something, you get something ... more.
Finally there's the enormous advantage inherent in plain old market size. Herein lies the nub of Chris Wallace's article in today's Oz. The Insiders lefty does a good job over the main issue, namely leverage, and in the process manages a generous assessment of trade minister, Mark Vaile....
AUSTRALIA'S most significant bilateral trade deal hangs in the balance as talks continue this weekend to break the impasse stalling a free trade agreement with the US.
Win or lose, no one will be able to fault Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile's commitment to his country, embodied in his tenacious pursuit of the troubled FTA. Vaile has not had a full night's sleep since getting to Washington and has talked trade intensely every waking moment in between. Despite staying at the swank Hay Adams Hotel - "where nothing is overlooked but the White House", says the discreet motto on its electronic room keys - Australia's trade minister has been living on club sandwiches. Vaile has cancelled his return flight home and is not spending a moment on anything but this last-ditch attempt to get the FTA up.
I'd be grateful in anyone could leave a link to a site which gives a layman's view of the advantages and/or disadvantages of the proposed FTA.