Shadow Minister for Trade and Tourism, Kevin Hogan, is calling on the Labor government to prioritise parliamentary consideration of the UK and India trade deals by referring them this week to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade.
Under Australia’s treaty making process, trade agreements must be considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). JSCOT was reconstituted last week, ready for the referral of the Australia-UK free trade agreement and referral of the Australia India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) once tabled in the Parliament.
“Australia’s exporters are eager to reap the benefits of these two landmark trade agreements, so let’s make it happen,” Mr Hogan said.
“The only thing standing in their way at present is the parliamentary scrutiny process and that requires immediate government action and attention.”
“There are only 23 sitting days remaining this year. That is a tight timeframe for all parliamentary procedures to be completed this year. The government should get on with the job so we can finish 2022 with the deals in force.”
Mr Hogan said the Opposition will work cooperatively with the government to develop a fast-track process if this means we can see both deals enter into force this year.
“The Coalition in government, led by former Trade Minister Dan Tehan, delivered on an ambitious agenda and did the heavy lifting to get us to where we are today.
“The UK and India are two of the largest consumer markets in the world, and we should do what is necessary to give Australian businesses improved market access through the trade agreements.
“The benefits will be shared across wider range of sectors including agriculture, education, and professional services. Australian households also benefit from the elimination of tariffs on many day-to-day consumer goods.”
Mr Hogan said the NSW Nationals in the federal government have a strong record when it comes to delivering better trade and market access, with around 75% of Australia’s two-way trade now covered by free trade agreements, up from 27% when the coalition came to office in 2013.
“Labor said at the election it wanted to foster trade diversification. Here is their chance to deliver on its promise.”
Key Benefits: Australia – UK Free Trade Agreement
• Elimination of tariffs on over 99 per cent of Australian goods exports to the UK, valued at around $9.2 billion, when the agreement enters into force.
• Around $43 million in annual customs duties will be removed from Australian wine when the agreement enters into force.
• A tariff-free beef quota of 35,000 tonnes at entry into force, expanding to 110,000 tonnes in year 10. Tariffs on beef will be eliminated after ten years.
• A tariff-free sheep meat quota of 25,000 tonnes at entry into force, expanding 75,000 in year 10. Tariffs on sheep meat will be eliminated after ten years.
• A tariff-free sugar quota of 80,000 tonnes at entry into force, expanding to 220,000 tonnes in year 8. Sugar tariffs will be eliminated after eight years.
• Professionals will have the same access to the UK’s lucrative jobs market as their European competitors, except from the Republic of Ireland.
• Australian households and businesses will save around $200 million a year as tariffs on British imports into Australia, such as cars, whisky, confectionery, biscuits and cosmetics, are phased out within five years, with tariffs on almost all UK goods being eliminated on entry into force.
• Expanded UK working holiday arrangements for young people including the raising of the age entitlement from 30 to 35 years of age.
• Improved access to the UK procurement market worth an estimated half-a-trillion dollars annually.
Key Benefits: Australia – India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement
• Elimination of tariffs on sheep meat, wool, coal, alumina, and metallic ores on entry into force.
• Elimination of tariffs on fresh rock lobster on entry into force and elimination of tariffs over 7 years for other fresh, frozen and processed seafood products.
• Tariffs on wine with a minimum import price of US$5 per bottle reduced from 150 per cent to 100 per cent on entry into force and subsequent to 50 per cent over 10 years.
• Tariffs on wine bottles with a minimum import price of US$15 reduced from 150 per cent to 75 per cent on entry into force and subsequently to 25 per cent over 10 years.
• Tariffs on many fruits, nuts and legumes eliminated or reduced on entry into force.
• LNG tariffs bound at 0 per cent on entry into force.
• Tariffs on pharmaceutical products and certain medical devices eliminated over five to seven years.
• Recognition of professional qualifications, licensing and registration procedures between professional services bodies in both countries.