Subject to certain exceptions and the non-participation of certain U.S. states, the agreement required that each party be no less favourable to the other treatment than the most favourable treatment of domestic goods, services and suppliers. A coalition of unions and other groups opposed the agreement because it would create nafta-like problems. [indicate] The Australian government did not have a majority in the Senate and therefore needed the support of the opposition Labor Party, the Greens, the Democrats or independent senators to get ratification. The government put pressure on Labor Party chairman Mark Latham to gain opposition support for the agreement (knowing that Latham, among many Labour members, saw the free trade agreement as beneficial). The issue had divided the party, particularly the left-wing group argued that labour should reject the deal. In conjunction with the current WTO agreement on health and plant health measures (SPS), two committees are created in this section to ensure compliance with the provisions of the SPS agreement. The Agriculture section of the agreement describes the system of removing most tariffs on agricultural products traded between the two countries. It also agrees to eliminate export subsidies if the quantity of goods in question is exported to one of the two countries of the party.
Latham reacted unexpectedly by subordinating laboratory support to the free trade agreement to an amendment that would protect PBS.  This effectively turned the situation around to Howard: if the government rejected the amendment as unnecessary, it opened up to assertions that it does not protect Australian interests; while he supported the amendment, he tacitly acknowledged that the initial terms of the agreement were insufficient. The bill was eventually amended and passed. While the system is very effective at keeping many drug prices low, pharmaceutical companies in both the U.S. and Australia are cautious about operating the system, saying that higher drug prices are needed to finance research and development costs.