THE NEWS WRAP: Government scaling back China free trade ambitions

Trade Minister Craig Emerson has revealed the government is scaling back its ambitions for a free trade deal with China, hoping to achieve a more limited agricultural trade deal in the near term.

 

However, Emerson told The Australian’s Global Food Forum that a key sticking point on a deal was China’s demands to Foreign Investment Review Board exemptions on its investments in Australia.

 

“Now, we can’t do that. The community would not accept that, and frankly nor would the Coalition,” Emerson said.

 

Coles sales leave a sour taste for suppliers

 

Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder has announced sales at the company’s Coles supermarket chain were up to $8.351 billion for the March quarter, up 6.4% year-on-year with 5.3% same-store growth.

 

However, the news is not so rosy for Coles’ suppliers, with Goyder telling them to cut prices or have their lines deleted.

 

“Our role as a supermarket is to deliver better value to our customers, and we will be absolutely focused on doing that, so suppliers who are inefficient and have outdated technology and have just reaped cash out of their business over time may not have a future role supplying us,” Goyder said.

 

Abbott says surplus date now uncertain

 

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has revealed during a speech at a Geelong RSL that predictions of a surplus in 2014 were based on the Government’s pre-Christmas budget figures, however the Coalition us now waiting until the federal budget to decide a target for delivering a surplus.

 

“We were confident that we could deliver a surplus based on what the Government was telling us until just before Christmas,” Abbott said.

 

“But all bets are off given that the Government won’t tell us what the deficit will be.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.56% to 14,537.14The Aussie dollar is down to US103.02 cents.

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