“The failure to conclude the highly anticipated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is disappointing, but reinforces the importance of the Australian Parliament ratifying the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA),” Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Trade Minister Andrew Robb should be congratulated for investing personally in the negotiations for the first ever regional trade agreement spanning the Asia Pacific, and in particular for seeking an agreement that is unambiguously in Australia’s national interest.
“The TPP would have represented the single most significant freeing up of trade and investment since the Uruguay Round in the early 1990s, and we encourage the government to continue its efforts for an agreement which serves Australia’s interests to be reached. It is important to keep up the momentum for an agreement so the goodwill can be turned into an outcome that benefits all.
“The immediate priority now has to be for the Australian Parliament to ratify the ChAFTA so Australia can get the most out of the relationship with its biggest trading partner.
“Australia can’t afford to have a lack of bipartisanship on ChAFTA, which is one of the most important trade opportunities in our history.
“This is a huge opportunity for Australia, and it is essential it gets passed in the Senate with the safeguards the government has included and with appropriate transparency and resourcing for compliance and enforcement.
“It is vital that public debate around the agreement is well informed and not driven by a mischievous and inaccurate advertising campaign by the unions.
“We must understand the competitive global environment we are operating in and if we don’t seize the opportunity presented by this agreement then our competitor countries will. Every week which goes by without this agreement being finalised is a week our competitors will take advantage of.
“The agreement will deliver increased investment into Australia, which will make our economy stronger and create more jobs for Australians long into the future,” Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 • Mobile 0403 241 128