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ChAFTA Case Study: Financial Services - ANZ

Financial Services – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

ANZ’s ‘super-regional’ strategy is to build the best connected, most respected bank across the Asia–Pacific region. ANZ employs over 49,000 people worldwide, 26,000 of whom are employed outside Australia.

ANZ has had a continuous presence since opening in Beijing in 1986 and is committed to becoming one of China’s leading foreign banks. The first Australian bank to be locally incorporated in China, today ANZ is one of Australia’s largest investors in China, including successful partnerships with the Bank of Tianjin and the Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank. ANZ also has a wholly owned rural bank in China in Chongqing Liangping County, opened in 2009.

ANZ has a presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hangzhou. It will continue to grow its business by focusing on the key cities in western China and three high-growth regions, including the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Bohai Bay area.

How will ChAFTA benefit ANZ?

ChAFTA is a new generation of FTA that will benefit ANZ and its customers. ChAFTA will support ANZ’s agriculture and farming customers as tariffs on beef, dairy and horticulture are removed. Resources and manufacturing business customers will benefit as tariffs are eliminated on coal, alumina, pharmaceutical and processed food products.

ChAFTA is more advanced than many other agreements, as it goes beyond tariff reductions on Australian goods, to liberalise market access for Australia’s services and offshore businesses.  As economies become richer, service sectors become more important. According to DFAT, the Chinese services sector overtook manufacturing as the largest contributor to China’s GDP in 2013 and is now the main driver of GDP growth.

The recently launched ANZ Services Report estimates that ‘value-added’ services exports to Asia could support over one million Australian jobs by 2030 and be worth more than $163 billion – a 135 per cent increase from 2013.

ChAFTA commits China to improved market access in around 40 service sectors to levels either equivalent to or better than those enjoyed by other nations. It includes the first treaty level commitments by China in relation to financial services and streamlined branch access applications to assist Australian banks to expand in China. It provides more transparent and liberal regulatory processes and rules that will strengthen the relationship between Chinese regulators and Australian financial service providers.

ChAFTA also delivers ‘most-favoured-nation’ (MFN) commitments covering 10 sectors, including computer services, construction and engineering services, education, and engineering and financial services (securities). Australia will automatically be granted the same level of access as any country is granted in future negotiations with China. Australian investors will be treated on par with the US and the EU once they conclude their treaty negotiations with China.

MFN commitments do not include banking services or commodities. However, the market access for commodities will be reviewed within three years of entering into force and every five years after that to promote ‘deepening liberalisation’. Trade in services, including banking, will be reviewed within two years by a new Committee on Trade in Services that will recommend measures to promote services trade.

ChAFTA is a major step forward in access to the world’s second largest economy for Australian goods and services, both now and in the future. ChAFTA is particularly important as it comes at a time when Australians are looking to diversify and strengthen our economy.