17 December 2014
The Federal Government hopes the Free Trade Agreement with China will take effect before the end of next year.
The Korea Free Trade Agreement came into force last week, and the Japan FTA starts on January 15.
Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb recently visited China with Australian business delegates. He says it was a chance for them to learn more about potential trade opportunities.
“There’s a lot of legal work to be done and translation into the other language, and then to check both agreements say the same things,” he said.
“Once all that work is done, which is usually four or five months, then it goes through our Parliament. So I think around August or September for the Chinese one.”
Mr Robb is urging exporters to research which products will have tariff reductions in order to make the most of the deals.
“It should give a lot of confidence to many producers to plan their future in terms of products that they think might be profitable for decades to come,” he said.
India FTA still priority
The National Farmers’ Federation has put pressure on Mr Robb to finalise a free trade deal with Indonesia before it completes one with India.
The Federal Government has previously pledged to work towards an agreement with India by the end of next year.
Mr Robb says he’s committed to that plan because Australia already has a free trade arrangement with Indonesia.
“(It includes) Australia, New Zealand and all the ASEAN countries together,” he explained.
“And we can build on that and we’re doing that within a regional context. But we’re yet to have any arrangement in place with India.
“And given that it’s a 1.2 billion person market and a big part of our future, it seems eminently sensible to get on with that one.”
Mr Robb says more Australian companies should be making the most of the existing trade opportunities in Indonesia.
“If you look at New Zealand, there are 16,500 Australian firms in New Zealand, 11,000 in the United States and we’ve got 150 Australian firms in Indonesia,” he explained.
“Those three statistics tell a big story. Indonesia will be, in all likelihood, the fourth biggest economy in the world in the next 10 to 15 years.
“So we need to use the agreements that are already in place and leverage those to improve the trade flows between our two countries, and the investment flows.”
Mr Robb will visit Indonesia next March with at least 150 Australian business delegates.
Courtesy of ABC Rural