The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the announcement today of an agreed preferential trade deal between Peru and Australia.
“Australian exporters in agriculture and the services sector will have improved access to the Peru market,” Australian Chamber Director of Trade and International Affairs Bryan Clark said.
“Particularly pleasing is the inclusion of sugar and rice, which have not always been included.
“It is also pleasing that Australian education qualifications will now be recognised in Peru. This is an incentive for people of Peru to study in Australia or access online services.”
It is expected the deal will come into force before mid next year.
“We look forward to being able to scrutinise the text once the legal scrubbing is completed,” Mr Clark said.
“We call on the government to adhere to the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee to undertake independent economic assessment as part of the parliamentary assessment process.”
The Australia-Peru agreement was negotiated in a record six months. Some agreements have taken up to 10 years to be finalised.
“We understand the agreement has drawn heavily on the original proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which Australia and Peru were part of. That original deal didn’t proceed and the parties, excluding the US, are trying to implement a modified version. But this Australia-Peru deal announced today, negotiated in a record six months, demonstrates the benefits of using a standard model agreement. This is something the Australian Chamber has been calling for.
“Given that we expect a Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to be agreed sometime in the future, we hope that any new agreement does not contain significant variations that add to the “noodle bowl” of complexity business must navigate when more than one agreement exists between two nations.
“We welcome the first steps in this direction, including the abolishment of an existing investment treaty between Peru and Australia. The Australian Chamber also welcomes the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision in the agreement.
“We also extend our support for the recent announcements of new market access protocols for horticultural products going to China. These include some of the missing pieces that have prevented some of our industries from taking advantage of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in the past.”
Regarding the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, Mr Clark said: “We look forward to seeing the details of any proposal so they can be scrutinised by industry and other stakeholders.
“Trade policy isn’t just about selling things. It is about international competition to encourage domestic reforms and drive business growth and productivity. This is what sustains and creates jobs for all Australians. We applaud the efforts of our Prime Minister and Ministers to promote this ideal and look forward to continued domestic reforms to remove trade barriers that still exist within the Australian economy. The Government can action these reforms now, reducing costs to business and consumers. They don’t have to wait for other countries to come to the party.”