CONCERNS have been voiced that a new legislation, which gives veto powers to the government to scrap deals struck by states, cities and universities with foreign governments could make life harder for businesses.
Professor in political science Dominic O'Sullivan at Charles Sturt University said the new laws approved on Tuesday could indirectly impact the region's exporters.
The final approval by federal parliament will give the Foreign Minister the ability to overturn state, territory and local councils and public university deals with other nations that do not align with national interest.
"Where it could affect businesses and exporters in the Riverina for example is if China retaliates," Professor O'Sullivan said. "If it exacerbates tensions in the relationship that could make it more difficult for traders to negotiate a reduction in the tariffs China is imposing."
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"The Commonwealth could argue that there are diplomatic efforts that still could be explored to try and address those trading concerns," Professor O'Sullivan said.
"Some traders might be observing this and thinking it is an impossible thing to do and they will pay the price for Australia's position in the bilateral relationship."
Riverina farmer Alan Brown said the region is a large wine and grain producer and the last thing it needs is "for agricultural commodity exports to be used as political football".
The chairman of the NSW Farmers Wagga district branch added that "if the agriculture industry sneezes, then the rest of the Riverina gets a cold".
Mr Brown struggled to understand the reason for the federal government getting involved in this manner and it could make it harder to negotiate reduced tariffs.
"It is just muddying the water that is already muddy," he said.
Riverina MP and deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Foreign Relations Bill is an important piece of legislation, which will provide governments, institutions and Australians the assurance that due diligence is given to international arrangements.
He said it ensures all deals are consistent with national interest and values.
"This bill will eliminate the risk of having a patchwork of contracts, memoranda of understanding, relationships and collaborations which could have an adverse effect on our over-arching foreign policy," he said.
"It is important to apply this legislation to all decisions at every level of government. This will best ensure the appropriate level of scrutiny is applied to maintain the integrity of the intention of the bill."