Strengthening trade in the Indo-Pacific

  • Media release

Australian farmers and businesses stand to benefit from better export opportunities with the Morrison Government today securing passage of implementing legislation for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

RCEP is a modern and comprehensive free trade agreement between Australia and 14 other Indo-Pacific countries that covers trade in goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, and creates new rules for electronic commerce, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, and small and medium sized enterprises.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said RCEP would build upon and strengthen Australia’s existing free trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific.

"RCEP will be the world’s largest free trade agreement once it is in force for Australia, the ten ASEAN nations, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea," Mr Tehan said. “This agreement will make it easier for businesses and investors to operate throughout the Indo-Pacific by delivering greater integration of value chains and shared rules of origin, which ultimately will lead to more jobs, opportunities and economic growth in Australia.

“Currently, Australian traders can choose from 10 different FTAs to do business between the 15 countries of the region, each with its own rules and procedures. RCEP will make trading easier by providing a single set of rules and procedures for Australian exporters to utilise preferential tariff outcomes across the region.

“These rules, which will support contemporary production and logistics patterns, will make it more attractive for food processors in the region to source primary produce from Australia.

“I’d like to thank former Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham for his hard work in negotiating this agreement.

“The Australian Government is committed to pursuing free trade because it drives economic growth, improves living standards and helps develop co-operation and builds trust between trading partners. This is why the Government is now progressing the few remaining steps required for Australia to ratify RCEP.

“Our Government has overseen the size of our trading markets covered by free trade agreements grow from 27 per cent to around 70 per cent — that equates to preferential access to an additional 2 billion customers.”

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