FTA win as global trade storm brews

26 Nov 2019 |

The Australian Chamber congratulates the Coalition Government for securing Parliament’s support for the Peru, Indonesia, and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreements.

In particular, ACCI welcomes the bipartisan approach to support international trade at a time when storm clouds are brewing for the global rules-based trading system on which Australians depend.

“It is encouraging to see the Coalition and Opposition recognise the need to maintain momentum and support for liberalised trade in the face of ongoing trade tensions, increasing protectionism and threats to global trade rules,” ACCI CEO James Pearson said.

Trade is vital to the Australian economy. Exports climbed to $438 billion in 2018 and foreign investment was at record levels last year. One in five Australian jobs is tied to trade.

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) faces unprecedented challenges due to the risk of imminent collapse of the WTO Appellate Body. Without an Appellate Body, the ability of the WTO to adjudicate global trade disputes between countries will be all but removed,” Mr Pearson said.

“At the same time, the fact that countries continue to sign up to trade agreements built on the WTO system shows what an important institution it is and why we need to support global rules-based trade.”

Mr Pearson said Australia’s services sector is just one that stands to benefit from the new trade agreements; and the comprehensive economic partnership with Indonesia marks a another step forward in our engagement with our nearest northern neighbour.

“Two-way trade with Indonesia was worth $16.8 billion in 2017-18, making Indonesia Australia’s 13th largest trade partner. The new deal will increase economic integration as it makes it easier for Australians and Indonesians to work more closely together.

“It’s now time to streamline overlapping Free Trade Agreements, by doing an independent economic review of the performance of each agreement and removing duplication and inconsistencies which can cost Australian exporters and importers time and money.

“ACCI looks forward to working with the Government to ensure the uptake and success of the Peru, Indonesia, and Hong Kong Free Trade Agreements; and to supporting Government efforts to reinforce the importance of the WTO and the global rules-based trading system it represents and guides.

Marie Hogg

Senior Adviser - Media

P  |  0431 299 518

E  |  [email protected]

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