Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb today launched a publication promoting the trade and investment opportunities for Australian business in the ten countries comprising the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“The ASEAN region has never offered more opportunities for Australian business than it does today,” Mr Robb said. “This is particularly the case in areas where the middle class is growing and consumer demand outstrips local supply, such as in the food and beverage, agriculture, healthcare, education and financial services sectors.”
Why ASEAN and Why Now? Insights for Australian Business draws on the experience of Australian companies and Australia’s network of diplomatic and trade missions operating in the ASEAN region. The publication delivers practical insights on doing business in ASEAN and how to use regional free trade agreements. It outlines new opportunities for Australian businesses underpinned by the forthcoming declaration of the ASEAN Economic Community, and the growth of the services sector and regional value chains across ASEAN.
“As a whole, ASEAN is Australia’s second largest trading partner, with two-way trade surpassing $100 billion in 2014,” Mr Robb said.
Australian exports to ASEAN countries grew almost 18 per cent between 2013 and 2014. During the same period, ASEAN investment in Australia grew 15 per cent, to over $110 billion.
“I urge all Australian exporters, tourism operators and investors to read this report and make the most of the opportunities that ASEAN has to offer,” Mr Robb said.
The publication was jointly prepared by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is available at www.austrade.gov.au/ASEANreport
Significant gains have been made this week in negotiations for the world’s biggest regional trade deal, and a conclusion definitely remains within reach, the Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said today.
“We all went to Hawaii with the aim of concluding and while we didn’t quite get there we are definitely on the cusp. Most importantly the resolve remains to get this done,” he said.
“While nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, I would say we have taken provisional decisions on more than 90 per cent of issues and during my involvement in TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) negotiations this has been by far the most productive meeting at both ministerial and officials’ level.”
“The provisional decisions already taken would make this the biggest regional agreement in the world and the most significant agreement since the conclusion of the Uruguay round more than 20 years ago,” Mr Robb said.
“From Australia’s perspective we have made significant gains across every area, including agricultural market access. There are a handful of big outstanding issues that directly affect us as well some moving parts involving other countries in areas like automotives, data protection around biologics, dairy and also sugar.
“There has been progress in all of these and from my reading the issues are not intractable and there remains a real determination to conclude the TPP among all parties,” he said.
Mr Robb said the TPP involved 12 countries which accounted for almost 40 per cent of GDP and presented an opportunity for truly transformational reform.
“The establishment of a set of common trade and investment rules across these 12 countries – with the prospect of others joining in the future – will have a most material affect in terms of lowering the cost of doing business.
“This in itself will support some quite profound economic benefits in terms of growth, job creation and higher living standards and that is on top of significant market access gains for our exports and services and a more conducive investment environment,” Mr Robb said.
Australia is committed to concluding the negotiations and will continue working closely with TPP partners in advance of meeting again in the near future.
The 12 countries negotiating the TPP are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Together they constitute around 40 percent of global GDP.
A third of all Australia’s exports of goods and services are to TPP countries and 45 per cent of the stock of Australian outwards investment. Negotiations began in 2010.
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will participate in ministerial talks in Hawaii from 28-31 July with the aim of concluding negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The TPP would be the world’s largest regional free trade agreement with the 12 countries involved accounting for around 40 per cent of the global economy and comprising more than 800 million people.
Mr Robb said one-third of Australia’s total trade in goods and services is with the 11 countries negotiating the TPP with total two-way trade worth around $223 billion while five out of the 11 are in the top 10 destinations for Australian investment.
“The TPP has transformational promise and would put in place the architecture for a more seamless trading environment between member countries which will bring significant new benefits for Australia,” he said.
“The negotiations are at a very advanced stage and we are pushing hard to ensure we can secure major gains and opportunities for Australian business and for our economy.”
The TPP will cover the traditional areas of trade, including market access for a wide-range of goods and services as well as investment and it will also address a number of 21st century trade and investment issues, such as competition, e-commerce, and anti-corruption.
The TPP also seeks to level the playing field between private business and state owned enterprises operating in the realm of commercial activities.
In traditional areas the government is working hard to deliver commercially meaningful outcomes for Australian agricultural exports such as beef, dairy, grains, sugar, horticulture, seafood and wine, as well as securing gains for our resources and energy exports, manufactured and other goods.
There will also be longer term integration benefits to Australian businesses and consumers by facilitating the better access to increasingly important global value chains.
“The TPP will help drive increased trade and investment; help secure the ongoing competitiveness of Australian businesses and make a significant contribution to supporting economic growth, job creation and higher living standards for Australians,” Mr Robb said.
The TPP is being negotiated between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Other countries will also be welcome to seek TPP membership in the future.
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