“Today’s signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) with China provides us with a substantial opportunity to grow and diversify our economy over the next decade,” Business Council of Australia President Catherine Livingstone said.
“As Australia transitions from the mining boom, and considers the challenges ahead to create future jobs and participate in global supply chains, we need to maximise opportunities for growth across our economy. Growing Australia’s trade with China in areas where we have competitive strength will be an important part of this,” Ms Livingstone said.
“China is already Australia’s largest export market for goods and services and it accounts for nearly a third of total exports.
“China is also transitioning from an export-intensive economy to a more consumption and services-oriented economy, putting Australia in a strong position to benefit from the opportunities this transition provides.
“By 2020, China will have the world’s largest middle class market. It will want high-quality, safe and premium agricultural food products for which Australia is globally renowned. It will demand the same value-added services in professional, finance, health, education and aged care that underpins around 80 per cent of our economy.
“The free trade agreement must prompt corporate boards and senior executives around Australia to look at how their strategy is aligned with the new opportunities in the world’s second largest economy. It is an opportunity for Australian companies already operating in China to augment their presence and for many others to take advantage of the competitive edge.
“The introduction of higher Foreign Investment Review Board thresholds for private investment and new investment facilitation arrangements will stimulate greater construction in new infrastructure, which will boost growth and jobs.
“All in all, the significant opportunities for two-way trade unlocked by this agreement will deliver lasting benefits for the whole community,” Ms Livingstone said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 • Mobile 0403 241 128