LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has endorsed the benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement with the landmark legislation passing the House of Representatives today.
“I’m pleased that Labor has seen the light and acknowledged the opportunities that this agreement will bring,” Mr Entsch said.
“Once it’s in force, 86 per cent of Australia’s goods exports to China will enter duty free, and by 2029, 96 per cent. It’s going to play a massive role in diversifying our bilateral trade and investment, and will unlock substantial new benefits for both our countries.”
Mr Entsch highlighted a number of local sectors where the ChAFTA will have a positive impact, including dairy, horticulture, minerals/resources, services and investors.
For dairy, tariffs of up to 20 per cent will be eliminated progressively on ice cream, infant formula, liquid milk, cream, cheese, butter, yogurt and milk powders.
“The lush, green Tableland region produces in my view some of the best dairy in Australia but as yet, there are no exports directly out of North Queensland,” Mr Entsch said.
“The ChAFTA will create real opportunities, especially for fresh products that provide a higher return. For example, milk that’s exported to China from South-East Queensland commands $9 a litre.
“Fruit and veg producers are going to enjoy seeing tariffs of up to 30 per cent eliminated progressively on nuts, citrus and other fruit and fresh vegetables.
“I’ve spoken to Joe Moro, from the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce, who says that between 500-1000 tonnes of mangoes are already exported directly from FNQ into China. With the tariff coming down it will make the price of the end-product more competitive.
“He also suggests that Australia needs to continue a positive dialogue with the Chinese to develop the right quarantine protocols, because this’ll open up even more capability to export lychees and many other fruits into China in the long term.”
Under the ChAFTA, existing duty-free treatment for key resources including aluminium ore has been locked in at 0 per cent.
“This is good news for our bauxite industry ? Rio Tinto’s production on Cape York is helping meet the growing demand for this resource into China, and will continue to do so – especially if the South of Embley mine is approved.”
Australian service providers and investors across various sectors, from finance, legal and architectural services to health and aged-care, will receive guaranteed better access to China.
In return, ChAFTA will also promote more two-way investment, which will provide much-needed capital for Australian business to expand into domestic and international markets.
“Both these measures align perfectly with our aims in the Northern Australia White Paper,” Mr Entsch said. “We want to strengthen our industry in tropical expertise ? exporting our knowledge to ensure best practice in developing nations that make up the world’s tropical zone, and welcoming people from those nations to live, work and study in Australia.
“ChAFTA also puts into practice our focus on being an enabler when it comes to developing the north ? creating the right investment environment to get projects off the ground.
“Think IFED, Aquis, Ella Bay, the Cairns Airport expansion, Nova Aspial and other developments that are waiting in the wings.”
Together, Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with Japan, China and Korea will add $24.4 billion to the Australian economy over the period 2016-2035.
“Increased exports and cheaper imports will mean that Australian businesses can hire more workers, and higher incomes and lower prices under the FTAs will benefit every Australian household too.”
For more information on the ChAFTA, click here