“The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties’ (JSCOT) report on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) has cleared the way for a speedy ratification of the biggest bilateral trade deal in our history,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“The Senate report - which calls for the ChAFTA to be ratified immediately - provides a green light to the government and Opposition to negotiate in good faith to achieve bipartisan support for this vitally important trade deal to go ahead,” Ms Westacott said.
“The ChAFTA must be passed by the House of Representatives quickly to provide the Senate enough time to consider the agreement.
“Ratifying the ChAFTA before the end of the year is critical for Australian businesses to receive a double round of tariff cuts so that many Australian businesses exporting to, and operating in China, can take immediate advantage of the immense opportunities the agreement provides.
“The ChAFTA will be transformative for the Australian economy - it ensures a competitive edge for Australia’s most important sectors for trade with the world’s second largest economy.
“The Business Council welcomes the report’s conclusion that the safeguards are in place to ensure the agreement does not represent a threat to Australian jobs, and that efforts should instead focus on properly resourcing departments and agencies to carry out enforcement and compliance activities.
“However, the Business Council acknowledges the reality that the government and Opposition need to cooperate to ratify ChAFTA on a bipartisan basis.
“In negotiating any complementary safeguards to the ChAFTA to expedite ratification, it is important the government and Opposition ensure arrangements around work agreements remain workable and do not unnecessarily increase compliance risk, administrative burden, cost or red tape,” she said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 • Mobile 0403 241 128