The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
FORMER MINISTER FOR TRADE

Media release

Wednesday, 19 April 2005 - MVT30/2005

Vaile Welcomes China FTA Negotiations

Trade Minister Mark Vaile said he looks forward to creating new opportunities for Australian exporters in China following the announcement that negotiations will begin on a free trade agreement (FTA).

"Having visited China regularly in the past six years and seen the enormous potential in the Chinese market, I am looking forward to beginning negotiations with my Chinese counterpart," Mr Vaile said.

"An FTA would shape our future trading relationship with the world's fastest-growing major economy. In the last two years, China has accounted for a quarter of world economic growth."

The joint FTA Feasibility Study just completed concludes that an FTA would enhance output and employment in both countries and in all Australian states and territories. It would boost the Australian economy by an estimated A$24.4 billion over a ten year period.

Mr Vaile added that while the negotiations with China would be challenging, Australia could not afford to ignore this opportunity to consolidate and improve our position in the Chinese market.

"The FTA negotiations will be an enormous task with everything on the table for negotiation and will be conducted as a single undertaking- nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed," said Mr Vaile.

"Engaging more closely with this emerging industrial power will enable Australia to set the terms for our future trade and tackle current trade impediments, including many "behind the border" issues that act as serious barriers to our exporters and service providers in the Chinese market."

"An FTA would give our exporters a competitive edge as key suppliers to the vast Chinese market.  Chinese barriers in agricultural trade include tariffs, which average 15.3 per cent, tariff rate quotas imposed on our major export products and difficulties arising behind the border.

"Australia and China are not direct competitors in all segments of the manufacturing market. In fact Australia's manufacturing exports to China have grown faster than to anywhere else in the world.  The services and investment sectors will also be a focus of discussions to overcome some of the barriers faced by Australian businesses," Mr Vaile said.

The Australian Government has agreed to treat China as a market economy, which means that Australia will treat China the same as other WTO members for the purpose of anti-dumping.  Australian industry will continue to have the same rights under WTO agreements to take anti-dumping action against China as it does presently.

See also: Information about various aspects of the FTA, including copies of the joint feasibility study.

 

Media Contact: Carissa Buckland 02 6277 7420

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