The Australian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers and Exporters Association (APMA) said it was “deeply disappointed” by the announcement by the Australian government of plans to move Australian production of pharmaceuticals to China.
APMA’s president, Steve Rambis, said the move would affect hundreds of thousands of jobs and cost the industry more than $200 million a year.
Mr Rambish said it would mean “a very significant loss of jobs for Australian workers”.
Mr Rammis said APMA was “disappointed” by both the announcement and the actions of the Australian federal government.
Mr Abbott’s announcement has been described as a “strategic and deliberate attempt” to undermine the Australian manufacturing sector.
“This move will harm our manufacturing industry, and harm our economy,” he said in a statement.
“We can do better, and we are.”
APMA, which represents Australia’s most important pharmaceutical companies, said it had made a number of submissions to the Australian Government.
“APMA has always stood for strong trade protections and open markets, and today’s announcement is a betrayal of our industry’s values and a massive blow to the industry,” Mr Rabinis said.
“AAPMA is deeply disappointed that the government has decided to allow the Australian pharmaceutical sector to move production of its medicines to China.”
Mr Rangis said that APMA would continue to press for trade protection, and “implement our business model” of a strong manufacturing sector in Australia.
“It is time for the Australian public to demand a return to trade protection,” he added.
APMEA is Australia’s largest trade body and represents the largest group of pharmaceutical companies.
It has more than 20,000 members, many of whom are Australian citizens.
Mr Rudd has pledged to renegotiate Australia’s free trade deals with China and India.
He also announced plans to make it easier for multinationals to enter Australia and to boost the Australian research and development (R&D) sector.
APPA chief executive Richard Curnow said Mr Rudd’s move “is a betrayal” of the industry and the people of Australia.
He said that the APMA had “substantially more influence” over Mr Rudd than the Australian Labor Party.
“As a trade organisation, we have significant influence in the policymaking of the government of Australia, and APMA believes that we can work together to strengthen our trading relationships,” Mr Curnows statement said.
The Federal Government said the decision would create uncertainty for Australian companies, but did not comment further.
The announcement comes just weeks after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) criticised the Government’s handling of the introduction of mandatory drug tests for some workers in the pharmaceutical industry.
The move was aimed at protecting the jobs of those employed in the industry.
However, the Government has yet to implement the policy, and the Commission is urging the Federal Government to reverse the decision.