LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has applauded the ground-breaking Free Trade Agreement with China, describing the benefits as being “significant and far-reaching” for the Far North.
“I’ve got to hand it to our Trade Minister, Andrew Robb,” Mr Entsch commented. “He’s been able to achieve concessions from the Chinese that are well beyond anything that’s been done before.
“Previously, we had used New Zealand’s achievements in free trade as a benchmark to aim for – but this agreement well overtakes those.”
Particular elements of the FTA that will benefit Far Northern producers and industries include the tariff-free access for dairy farmers within four years to China’s massive infant formula market, the reduction to zero by 2019 on tariffs on horticultural products, seafood and other goods and more beneficial terms for beef exporters.
“This agreement eases the visa requirements for students wishing to study in Australia and enables universities such as JCU to market directly to Chinese students.
“Very importantly, it gains a commitment to review the restrictions on sugar and rice exports within three years, which could be quite significant for our local sugar producers.”
Mr Entsch said he was also excited about the opportunities within China’s service industry, in that tourism and hospitality companies will be able to open hotels and other ventures directly within China and professionals such as engineers and architects will be able to gain an entirely new level of access.
“Given that the dollar value of this agreement is set to exceed $US18 billion over 10 years, the direct benefits and flow-on effects will be fantastic for the Far North and Northern Australia more broadly.”