China, Australia seal landmark free trade agreement

Discussion in 'China' started by CCP, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. CCP

    CCP Senior Member Senior Member

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    Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

    A LANDMARK free trade agreement has been finalised between Australia and China, slashing tariffs on 95 per cent of goods and unlocking billions of dollars of exports.

    The Chinese-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) was revealed by Trade Minister Andrew Robb this afternoon, in what has been hailed as an “historic day” for the country.

    Mr Robb said the deal concluded a “powerful trifecta” of trade agreements after the government finalised agreements with Japan and Korea earlier this year.

    FTA: The key industries affected

    The three countries receive 61 per cent of Australia’s exported goods, and account for 52 per cent of all of Australia’s goods and service exports.

    “I do think it is going to provide the impetus for taking our relationship within the Asian region, particularly the north Asian region, to a whole new level,” he said.

    “It will not only impact directly on goods and services trade, but have a very material impact on investment,” he said.

    “But also I think, the intangibles, it builds trust, it builds more confidence, it builds relationships and it is a contributor to a much wider cultural engagement and just greater stability and peace in the region.”

    Under the agreement, which has been almost a decade in the making, Australian farmers and dairy processors will get at least the access negotiated by their New Zealand counterparts.

    All tariffs will be abolished for Australia’s $13 billion dairy industry, and beef and sheep farmers will also benefit from the abolition of tariffs ranging from 12-25 per cent.

    “In agriculture it’s in every respect New Zealand-equivalent ... in dairy it’s New Zealand-plus,” he said.

    Tariffs on horticulture, seafood and live animal exports will be eliminated, while wine makers will also secure tariff abolition of between 14-30 per cent within four years.

    Wool producers have also won greater access, with the ability to export another 30,000 tonnes of clean wool allowed on top of existing quotas.

    The resources and energy sector has also benefited with tariffs on coking coal and aluminium oxide to be abolished on the first day of the agreement.

    Cotton, wheat, sugar, rice and oilseed industries have missed out on any tariff relief.

    The government said it had secured the “best ever” agreement for market access for the services sector, including legal services, financial services, telecommunications and aged care services.

    In a win for China, the Foreign Investment Review Board screening threshold will be lifted from $248 million to $1.078 billion.

    Chinese companies building infrastructure projects worth more than $150 million in Australia will be able to access foreign labour under the country’s 457 visa scheme.

    Unions have warned against easing workforce restrictions saying the move may allow Australian working conditions to be undermined.

    But Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the Investment Facilitation Agreements would ensure Chinese-owned companies complied with Australian employment laws, including wages and conditions.

    In addition to skilled workers having easier access to Chinese projects, a new Work and Holiday program will be established giving 5000 Chinese visitors a year the right to work.

    Guaranteed access will also be granted to Chinese employees transferring within companies and “independent executives” to work in Australia for up to four years.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping will this evening witness the signing of multiple memoranda of understanding to bring the agreement into effect, including a declaration of intent to conclude the trade deal in 2015.

    Mr Xi told parliament that China’s population of 1.3 billion created a market of “immense potential”.

    “In the next five years, China will import more than US$10 trillion of goods. Its outbound investment will exceed $500 billion.

    “Chinese tourists will make over 500 million overseas visits. All of this will provide a bigger market, more capital and more opportunities for the wider world.”

    A joint statement from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong said Labor supported the finalisation of negotiations on the agreement.

    “Labor supports freeing up global trade because it drives growth, generates jobs, improves living standards and reduces poverty, both at home and abroad,” the statement said.

    He called on the government to release the full text of the agreement for public scrutiny.


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    I like this one "In addition to skilled workers having easier access to Chinese projects, a new Work and Holiday program will be established giving 5000 Chinese visitors a year the right to work."
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Even though the text of the deal has not been released, yet there are many areas that are being questioned by the Australian opposition.

    It is a good deal in many ways, but then the provisos appear to ensure that Australian interests are safeguarded.

    China lifting the import of meat and dairy products is but a natural corollary since China does have a food shortage to feed its teeming and expanding billions.
     
  4. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Australian exports to China still face hurdles after hyped trade deal

    [​IMG]

    (Reuters) - A trade deal signed with great fanfare between China and Australia has been touted as a major step towards Australia shifting its economy from a "mining boom" to a "dining boom," but the reality is likely to be more sobering.

    Australia is looking to replace its reliance on exports of minerals such as coal and iron ore as mining investment wanes and demand begins to dwindle. The government would prefer to expand its food and agricultural exports to capitalize on a rapidly growing Asian middle class.


    It has high hopes for the proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) signed on Monday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi, but the more likely winner from the deal is the services sector.

    The deal is designed to open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector, while easing curbs on Chinese investment in Australia. China is already Australia's top trading partner, with two-way trade of around A$150 billion ($130 billion) in 2013.

    Several major agricultural foodstuffs, including sugar, rice and cotton, are currently excluded from the FTA, and Australia's frequent severe droughts impose a natural production ceiling on those sectors that are part of the pact.

    Experts are waiting for the full text of the pact, which Australia called the best ever between Beijing and a Western country, warning the devil may yet be in the detail.

    "Labor is deeply concerned that key export sectors like sugar have been told to expect nothing from the deal," said opposition Labor Party leader Penny Wong. "Mr Abbott has talked about a two-step FTA. The fact is Australia can't afford a second-rate FTA with China."

    EXCLUSIONS

    HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the deal would support Australia's "great rebalancing act", but others warned the agricultural sector is comparatively tiny.

    Of Australia's total exports to China of A$94.7 billion in 2013, iron ore accounted for A$52.7 billion, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Wool, the top agricultural export, made up just A$1.9 billion.

    Boosting agriculture also requires big investment in isolated, dry and volatile areas with limited water supply. Large swathes of eastern Australia are currently in drought.

    Australian farms' return on capital has seldom topped 2 percent in a year on average during the past decade, excluding changes in land values, according to government research bureau ABARES. The unpredictability of earnings is greater than in the United States, Africa and Brazil.

    Meanwhile, the sugar, rice, wheat and cotton sectors will have to wait three years for a review of their tariffs. Even then, any changes are likely to be contingent on Australia relaxing its existing requirement that all investment proposals by Chinese state-owned entities be scrutinized by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

    "In this day and age, sugar being excluded in what looks like a political trade-off is an absolutely unacceptable outcome," said Paul Schembri, chairman of industry group Canegrowers.

    FALTERING DEMAND

    At the other end of the deal, China faces a supply glut as economic growth falters. Inventories of iron ore, coal and cotton are bulging at ports across the country and state granaries are overflowing. The Australian dairy industry's hopes of a "white gold" rush have been dashed.
    Businesses last week complained about Beijing's response, using non-tariff barriers from customs clearance to quality restrictions, which would skirt the FTA, to curb raw material imports.

    The financial sector is also cautious, noting the dominance of its Asian peers in China. That means Australian businesses will probably dabble in niche projects, rather than trying to compete in core banking services.

    Andrew Whitford, Westpac Banking Corp's (WBC.AX) head of Greater China, said it was still early days, and Westpac was "certainly not going to be opening more branches."

    AGEING POPULATION

    One sector where the road seems clearer is healthcare.

    Chinese per capita health spending is growing the fastest in Asia, having quadrupled to $321 a year in 2012 from $80 in 2005, according to the World Bank.

    China wants to shift to a community-based health system, as opposed to hospital-based, to cut costs and ensure universal access, leaving it with a shortage of providers in out-of-hospital health sectors like aged care and pharmacy.

    An advanced aged care industry is "one of Australia's great comparative advantages", said Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott.

    Peter Hope, who runs a pharmacy in the small Australian state of Tasmania, said the new rules would allow him to quickly expand beyond his already planned Beijing store in April next year to 1,000 franchises around China.



    Australian exports to China still face hurdles after hyped trade deal | Reuters
     
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Australian exports to China still face hurdles after hyped trade deal

    [​IMG]

    (Reuters) - A trade deal signed with great fanfare between China and Australia has been touted as a major step towards Australia shifting its economy from a "mining boom" to a "dining boom," but the reality is likely to be more sobering.

    Australia is looking to replace its reliance on exports of minerals such as coal and iron ore as mining investment wanes and demand begins to dwindle. The government would prefer to expand its food and agricultural exports to capitalize on a rapidly growing Asian middle class.


    It has high hopes for the proposal for a free trade agreement (FTA) signed on Monday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi, but the more likely winner from the deal is the services sector.

    The deal is designed to open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector, while easing curbs on Chinese investment in Australia. China is already Australia's top trading partner, with two-way trade of around A$150 billion ($130 billion) in 2013.

    Several major agricultural foodstuffs, including sugar, rice and cotton, are currently excluded from the FTA, and Australia's frequent severe droughts impose a natural production ceiling on those sectors that are part of the pact.

    Experts are waiting for the full text of the pact, which Australia called the best ever between Beijing and a Western country, warning the devil may yet be in the detail.

    "Labor is deeply concerned that key export sectors like sugar have been told to expect nothing from the deal," said opposition Labor Party leader Penny Wong. "Mr Abbott has talked about a two-step FTA. The fact is Australia can't afford a second-rate FTA with China."

    EXCLUSIONS

    HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the deal would support Australia's "great rebalancing act", but others warned the agricultural sector is comparatively tiny.

    Of Australia's total exports to China of A$94.7 billion in 2013, iron ore accounted for A$52.7 billion, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Wool, the top agricultural export, made up just A$1.9 billion.

    Boosting agriculture also requires big investment in isolated, dry and volatile areas with limited water supply. Large swathes of eastern Australia are currently in drought.

    Australian farms' return on capital has seldom topped 2 percent in a year on average during the past decade, excluding changes in land values, according to government research bureau ABARES. The unpredictability of earnings is greater than in the United States, Africa and Brazil.

    Meanwhile, the sugar, rice, wheat and cotton sectors will have to wait three years for a review of their tariffs. Even then, any changes are likely to be contingent on Australia relaxing its existing requirement that all investment proposals by Chinese state-owned entities be scrutinized by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

    "In this day and age, sugar being excluded in what looks like a political trade-off is an absolutely unacceptable outcome," said Paul Schembri, chairman of industry group Canegrowers.

    FALTERING DEMAND

    At the other end of the deal, China faces a supply glut as economic growth falters. Inventories of iron ore, coal and cotton are bulging at ports across the country and state granaries are overflowing. The Australian dairy industry's hopes of a "white gold" rush have been dashed.
    Businesses last week complained about Beijing's response, using non-tariff barriers from customs clearance to quality restrictions, which would skirt the FTA, to curb raw material imports.

    The financial sector is also cautious, noting the dominance of its Asian peers in China. That means Australian businesses will probably dabble in niche projects, rather than trying to compete in core banking services.

    Andrew Whitford, Westpac Banking Corp's (WBC.AX) head of Greater China, said it was still early days, and Westpac was "certainly not going to be opening more branches."

    AGEING POPULATION

    One sector where the road seems clearer is healthcare.

    Chinese per capita health spending is growing the fastest in Asia, having quadrupled to $321 a year in 2012 from $80 in 2005, according to the World Bank.

    China wants to shift to a community-based health system, as opposed to hospital-based, to cut costs and ensure universal access, leaving it with a shortage of providers in out-of-hospital health sectors like aged care and pharmacy.

    An advanced aged care industry is "one of Australia's great comparative advantages", said Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott.

    Peter Hope, who runs a pharmacy in the small Australian state of Tasmania, said the new rules would allow him to quickly expand beyond his already planned Beijing store in April next year to 1,000 franchises around China.



    Australian exports to China still face hurdles after hyped trade deal | Reuters
     

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