The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP
Minister for Trade and Competitiveness
Dear Minister Emerson
I am pleased to receive your letter of today's date, which reads as follows:
"In connection with the signing of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement
("the Agreement") I have the honour to confirm the following understanding
reached by the Governments of Malaysia and Australia regarding labour issues.
In the course of exploring the inclusion of appropriate labour provisions in
the Agreement, we have affirmed our commitments as members of the International
Labour Organisation and under the Declaration on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work and its Follow-up (1998). We have also affirmed our
interest in facilitating cooperation and consultation on labour issues of mutual
interest. Malaysia and Australia have also recognised each Party's responsibility
to adopt, administer and enforce its own labour laws, regulations and practices
and both are committed to ensuring that such labour laws, regulations and practices
are not used for trade protectionist purposes or labour standards weakened to
gain a trade advantage.
Considering that Malaysia and Australia are also currently involved in negotiations
on labour provisions under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement ("the
TPP"), and once the TPP has been ratified by both countries, they will
be bound by the outcomes of those negotiations, Malaysia and Australia have
jointly concluded that it is appropriate that labour issues not be addressed
in the Agreement at this time.
Malaysia and Australia further agree that the inclusion of labour issues in
the Agreement will be reviewed no later than two years after the entry into
force of the Agreement, or at such other time as the Parties agree."
I have the further honour to confirm that my Government shares this understanding
and that your letter and this letter in reply shall constitute an integral part
of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed