Unions push for export licenses

Mining unions are urging the Federal Government to re-introduce export licenses in a bid to control foreign owned capital.

Mining unions are urging the Federal Government to re-introduce export licenses in a bid to control foreign owned capital.

The Australian Worker’s Union and the CFMEU expressed concern over Chinese state-controlled corporations Chinalco and Minmetals attempts to buy into Australian resource companies.

The Federal Government is currently considering the proposed $30billion deal between Rio Tinto and Chinalco.

Fortescue Metals is also in talks with China Investment Corp while zinc producer, Oz Minerals, has agreed to a take over deal with Minmetals Corporation.

“Our unions are concerned that these companies holding strategic minority investments will seek to influence the supply/demand balance in their favour,” The AWU national secretary Paul Howes said.

“Companies with strong relationships with foreign governments may seek to unfairly influence iron ore and coal pricing as well as aluminium pricing – using the current global financial crisis to warp markets to ensure their interests are primary.”

Howes said while the unions were open to discussing how an export system might operate with the Federal Government, an easy mechanism would see all export contracts for nominated minerals submitted to a federal government authority.

“If they are not rejected within a specific time frame then they should be approved for export,” he said.

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