Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan today welcomed the signing of the historic Free Trade Agreement with China – our largest trading partner – which will deliver significant benefits for both the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley.
“This is an outstanding agreement, which will translate into greater local economic growth, higher living standards and jobs, jobs, jobs for the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley,” he said.
“Whether it’s Norco exporting fresh milk, Kimberly Kampers or Macadamia farmers, this agreement will help to underpin our local businesses for years to come.”
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) will give local exporters unprecedented market access to the world’s second largest economy, with a population of 1.36 billion and a rapidly growing middle class.
Mr Hogan said more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exports (by value) will be tariff free from later this year rising to 93 per cent within four years.
“Tariffs of 12 to 25 per cent on some of Australia’s biggest exports to China—chilled or frozen beef and sheep meat—will be eliminated in stages over eight to nine years. There are also a number of tariff phase-outs for key dairy exports over four to 11 years,” he said.
“These cuts will directly benefit our producers, and underline the commitment of this government to boosting returns at the farmgate.”
Households and businesses will also reap the benefits of cheaper goods and components imported from China such as vehicles, household goods, electronics and clothing, placing downward pressure on the cost of living and the cost of doing business.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a new relationship with China and one which we will use to continue to press for improved market access for our producers and exporters,” Mr Hogan said.
This is the third Free-Trade Agreement the Federal Government has successfully concluded, including agreements with Japan and South Korea.
The signing came the same day as the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said the total value of Australian farm production is forecast to reach a record high in nominal terms of $53.7 billion in 2015–16.