“Australian prosperity over more than three decades has been built on economic reform and an openness to trade. We welcome Labor’s recommitment to these values,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said today in response to Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Jason Clare’s speech on trade in the Asian century earlier today.
“Mr Clare’s speech recognises that Australia must be well positioned to take advantage of international investment and trade, and that to do that it will require renewed public confidence in the benefits of both.
“Efforts to make sure business has a voice at the negotiation table are welcome. Resolving non-tariff barriers to trade should also boost our capacity to trade with the growing economies of Asia.
“Enhancing our engagement and deepening our trade with Asia-Pacific nations, particularly China and Indonesia, is vital to maintaining Australia’s prominence and relevance in the region.
“The opening of our economy under successive governments unleashed our country’s energy and creativity, allowing real incomes per person to double over the past 40 years. Political leaders and private enterprise alike need to work hard at making that case clearly to the community more broadly.
“Open trade along with a competitive economy are Australia’s lifeblood. They offer the only enduring pathway to creating more jobs and boosting wages growth.
“A strong global focus, coupled with a vocational training and higher education system which gives workers the skills they need, will help build a modern economy.
“Rejection of protectionism and commitment to global trade is welcome, but it should also be matched with a commitment to a tax system that helps make Australia a competitive destination for investment.”