The Australian Chamber welcomes this opportunity to provide input to the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) Border Permits Review, as part of the whole-of-government trade modernisation agenda. The World Bank Doing Business Reports lists Australia as having the most expensive export and import border compliance among OECD high income economies, scoring last across the grouping in 2016, 2017, and 2018.1 The Australian Chamber supports the spirit and intent of the import/export regulations under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958, and agrees that Australia’s border and biosecurity arrangements must remain strong in order to protect Australia’s economy and the community. However, the spirit and intent of these regulations must also be balanced with the cost of doing business with Australia, both for Australian businesses, and for foreign investors seeking to do business with Australia
The Australian Chamber welcomes this opportunity to provide input to the Biosecurity Levy Steering Committee’s deliberations.
Biosecurity is a vital component of Australia’s trade and economic wellbeing, protecting over $60 billion worth of agricultural production nationally, underpinning Australia’s inbound tourism industry worth over $38 billion and protecting our environment from pest and disease incursions.
The Australian Chamber is supportive of an efficient and effective biosecurity system for Australia. We refer to the work of Dr Wendy Craik and her team in the 2017 independent review of the capacity of Australia’s biosecurity system and the underpinning Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB). Dr Craik released the Priorities for Australia’s Biosecurity System report 2017 (Craik Report) containing 42 recommendations for improving and bolstering Australia’s biosecurity system, in partnership with industry.
The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Reports lists Australia as having the most expensive export and import border compliance among OECD high income economies, scoring last in the grouping across 2016, 2017, and 2018.1
The announcement of the Biosecurity Levy during the 2018-19 Federal Budget represents a lone aspect of the recommendations in the Craik Report, and appears worryingly lacking in purpose and design, in contrast to the recommendations set out in the Craik Report.
The Australian Chamber has concerns relating to the implementation of the proposed Biosecurity Levy, outlined in the attached submission.
The Australian Chamber welcomes the government’s efforts to review Australia’s unique soft power strengths and capabilities, delivering upon a commitment established in the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.
The Australian Chamber and its member organisations believe there are many opportunities for the promotion and influence of Australian ideas and practices in the global community. As Australia’s leading voice for business and employers, the Australian Chamber is a unique member of the International Chamber of Commerce; [email protected]; International Organisation of Employers; Confederation of Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce. These platforms allow for Australian business to engage in global rulemaking in the intergovernmental bodies such as World Trade Organisation, the World Customs Organisation; the United nations, the International Labour Organisation, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation, etc.
The Australian Chamber, and Chambers of Commerce around the world, provide an essential service in acting on behalf of national Governments in efforts to simplify and harmonise customs procedures under the “badge of Government” authorisation related to the economic nationality of goods for the purposes of international trade. This essential service assists companies with international border crossing and should not be undermined. The Indian Ocean Rim Association has provided a platform for the Australian government to promote the empowerment of women and girls in the international trade facilitation. The Australian Chamber is uniquely positioned to deliver an ongoing IORA-related Women’s Empowerment Initiative.
As the review into ‘Brand Australia’ continues, the Australian Chamber recommends that the government endorse the Australian Made, Australian Grown as the common brand and symbol. Additionally, Australia’s soft power is enables through the hosting of major international events. As such the Australian Chamber recommends that the government embrace the opportunity to position Australia as a host nation for these events. The Australian Chamber also recognises the impact that international students and international education programs can have when promoting Australian practices and culture, and recommends that education strategies be incorporated into our broader foreign policy. Finally, the Australian Chamber recommends that the government promote Australia as a diverse tourist destination, so as to spread Australian culture and values around the globe.
The Australian Chamber welcomes the Government efforts to liberalise trade to the benefit of the Australian economy. We also appreciate that the Government has considered that a further inquiry into the this treaty is warranted given the recent passage of the enabling legislation for the CPTPP by the Australian parliament.
The CPTPP has also now been ratified by Australia and is expected to enter into force on December 30, 2018 and it is hoped that this might arrest the dramatic decline in exports from Australia to Peru that has occurred in recent years.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the Office of Trade Negotiations review of Australia’s Soft Power capabilities. It is important for a government to review assets at its disposal, and evaluate strengths and weaknesses.
Assessing Australia’s Soft Power capabilities has become more important as the world economy becomes increasingly interconnected, particularly through improving digital technologies. The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper describes soft power as having “the ability to influence the behaviour or thinking of others through the power of attraction and ideas”.
The Australian Chamber agrees with this definition, and identifies a number of key strengths of Chambers of Commerce that are at the disposal of the Australian government that will assist in this endeavour.
We welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the Inquiry into access to free trade agreements by small and medium sized enterprises
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a champion of free trade and investment and recognises the importance of getting more Australian businesses internationally engaged. We support the Government’s efforts to assist the development of Australian international trade through securing improvements through the multiple form of unilateral reform, multilateral agreements, regional and bilateral trade and investment treaties.