Report confirms benefit of PAFTA for Australian farmers, businesses

21 November 2018

Todaythe Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) released its second reportinto the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA).

Minister for Trade, Tourismand Investment Simon Birmingham welcomed the report's recommendation that it besupported and that binding treaty action be taken.

"I welcome the Committee'sacknowledgment of the 'gains and opportunities that PAFTA will provide forAustralian businesses and exporters' and their noting of the 'importance of early ratification.'

"PAFTA has significantbenefits for Australian farmers and businesses, will create more jobs and helpto further strengthen our economy. It also builds on the significant gains wehave achieved in ratifying the TPP-11 by phasing out a number of tariffs evenfaster.

"For example Australiansugar and canegrowers under PAFTA will secure more market access than any othersugar exporting country has achieved into Peru in the last 20 years.

"PAFTA also removes barriersfor some of our key services industries including education andtelecommunications by providing them with more transparent and predictableoperating conditions."

In October, at the requestof the Australian Labor Party and in the spirit of bipartisanship, MinisterBirmingham referred PAFTA to JSCOT for a second time.

"It's disappointing to seeLabor now state that the 'implementing legislation should be postponed' until the Government renegotiates certain aspects of the Agreement. Thisapproach, which we do not agree with, would threaten decades of bipartisanshipon trade policy, undermine Australia's credibility in trade negotiations andjeopardise all the benefits that Australian industry would access under thisagreement," Minister Birmingham said.

"Are Labor seriously goingto hold up this Agreement over Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions,which already exist between Australia and Peru under a decades old investmentagreement that the Keating Government signed and will continue to apply even ifthis new FTA is not brought into force?

"Theapproach argued by Labor Committee members defies logic and ignores the realitythat these provisions are there to help safeguard Australian companies whichare expanding their operations overseas by investing in foreign economies.

"Laborshould listen to the likes of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, theNational Farmers' Federation, the Group of Eight Universities, the MineralsCouncil of Australia, the Australian dairy industry and the red meat andlivestock industry who all madesubmissions in support of PAFTA.

"I urge Bill Shorten and theLabor Party to maintain a bipartisan approach to trade and to put the interestsof Australian farmers and businesses first by supporting PAFTA."

Thereport can be found at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/AspectsPAFTArevisited/Report_183

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