THE bruised resource sector is seen as a big winner of the free trade agreement between Australia and China.
The deal will give Australian businesses easier access to China’s $10 trillion economy and open up new markets for exporters.
National resource employer group AMMA has welcomed the agreement with Australia’s largest trading partner, highlighting the resources sector already accounts for $84 billion worth of exports to the Asian powerhouse.
“That’s about 80 per cent of Australia’s exports to China and an incredible 26 per cent of total annual exports,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott (pictured).
“This agreement marks an important new chapter in our relationship with the world’s second-largest economy and will create further opportunities for the resource industry, other sectors of our economy and the wider Australian community.
“Bringing our economies even closer together will encourage further investment and interest in Australia’s commodities. This has the potential to deliver direct and indirect economic and employment benefits for Australians for decades.”
The agreement is due to be signed today in Canberra by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It will contain measures to provide a tangible boost to the national resource industry including abolishing or phasing out tariffs on a range of export commodities including coal, copper and aluminium.
“China is playing a leading role in the growth of Australian commodity exports as our resource industry transitions from a heavy investment phase to a strong production era,” Knott says.
“This bilateral agreement will also benefit China through the establishment of the Shanghai free-trade zone, and the reduction or removal of tariffs and regulatory barriers to services, which will encourage the spread of Australian innovations and open up significant new opportunities.”
The Australian Government has secured three bilateral trade agreements with major Asia-Pacific trading partners in 2014, “setting a sound foundation for our future economic, employment and social growth”, says Knott.
“With the China FTA following similar agreements with Japan and Korea, Trade Minister Andrew Robb has effectively delivered a trifecta of strengthened economic relationships with our nation’s most important trade partners,” he says.
“Ultimately, this deal will serve to strengthen the economies of both nations as they pursue long-term growth and prosperity.”
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