Business Should Plan Now for US Free Trade Markets

The Business Council of Australia said the release of modeling today underlined the importance of a free trade agreement with the world’s biggest economy to Australia’s economic and job growth, but business needed to ready itself if it wanted to take full advantage of the benefits.

BCA President, Mr Hugh Morgan, said businesses eyeing import and export opportunities opened up by the US FTA needed to be working now to understand new and expanded markets that will become available to them, and the best way they can use the FTA to leverage them.

“It’s up to businesses to make it functional. They need to be planning now and getting advice on how to make the most of these new opportunities, not waiting until the Agreement is fully ratified,” Mr Morgan said.

“The federal government also has a role in making Australian business aware of a whole new playing field in the United States.”

Mr Morgan said these modeling results, showing $6 billion in additional economic activity a year for Australia, provided clear numerical endorsement of the FTA’s benefits.

The analysis released today shows that key sectors in our economy will have significant opportunities for growth including financial and professional services, government procurement, manufacturing and agriculture.

“But these types of models have difficulty in capturing more fundamental benefits for Australia of this agreement,” Mr Morgan said.

“New relationships and expertise gained over the long-term from access to the world’s largest and most advanced market are very hard to quantify.”

“While the number focuses on the measurable benefits, we need to consider whether we can afford to let this opportunity pass us by. It could be decades before a similar opportunity returns.

“Many of the benefits of this agreement go well beyond what we might reasonably expect from WTO arrangements even over the longer term, not only in lowering the cost of market entry but potentially lowering the costs of doing business in the United States.”