Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton has welcomed the signing of Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with China which was signed by the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb and Chinese Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng.
Mr Coulton said the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) provides unprecedented access to what is already the nation’s top overseas agricultural market and will stimulate a range of benefits for the region’s agricultural sector.
“China buys more of Australia’s agricultural produce than any other country. In the last financial year, this market was worth $9 billion to Australian farmers and the broader agricultural sector,” Mr Coulton said.
“Under ChAFTA, Australia’s beef, sheep and pork farmers will gain from the phased abolition of tariffs of up to 25 per cent, while tariffs on all fruit, vegetables and nuts will be eliminated.”
“Tariffs will be progressively abolished for Australia’s $13 billion dairy industry, including the rapid elimination of the 15 per cent tariff on infant formula, while there are also significant gains for processed foods such as fruit juices and honey, as well as the elimination of tariffs on barley and sorghum.”
Mr Coulton said that there has been increased demand from China’s growing middle class for Australia’s clean, green, premium produce.
“This agreement, together with the increased demand from China, means the opportunities for future export growth in this market are there for the taking,” Mr Coulton said.
“The agreement with China not only secures improved market access, it enhances Australia’s competitive position by giving our growers and producers an advantage over major competitors such as the United States, Canada and the European Union.”
“The ChAFTA is not just good news for the region’s farmers. The Free Trade Agreement with China will benefit the entire community through the creation of jobs, economic growth and greater prosperity for all.”
Mr Coulton said ChAFTA completes a historic trifecta of trade agreements following the recent entry-into-force of FTAs with Korea and Japan, which are yielding impressive results.
“Already there’s been a 26 per cent increase in frozen beef prime cuts to Korea and a massive 84 per cent increase in the same product to Japan. Macadamia exports to Korea have more than doubled, and Japan is importing 82 per cent more of our rolled or flaked oats,” Mr Coulton said.
Increases have also been seen in wine, lamb and other horticultural products with further positive outcomes are expected once ChAFTA comes into force.
The agreement will potentially come into force by the end of the year, following the completion of legal and parliamentary processes.
The full ChAFTA text is available online at http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/Pages/australia-china-fta.aspx, along with detailed fact sheets and handy reference guides.