A senior Liberal senator has warned an imminent free trade deal with China could spell a “disaster” for the country without proper protections.
Bill Heffernan is concerned the trade pact, which is on track to be sealed in the next few days, could allow China to cut tariffs but then manipulate its currency for advantage.
He questioned why the government would seek the deal when China did not have a floating currency.
“This generation of Australians, which takes the wonderful world we live in for granted, may well turn into a disaster,” Senator Heffernan told ABC TV on Tuesday.
Both nations are keen to reach an agreement before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Canberra next week.
Senator Heffernan said Australia should learn from past trade negotiations, citing the US FTA as an example that left Australia at a “huge” trade disadvantage within a few years of its signing.