The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the Labor Party needs to declare its support for the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in order to deliver certainty to Australian exporters seeking to use the improved trade arrangements to create jobs at home.
Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said the parliamentary debate on ChAFTA last Tuesday “shows the importance of this issue. While the text of the deal warrants proper scrutiny, a drawn out debate makes it tougher for Australian businesses to carry out their China export plans with confidence.
“The facts about ChAFTA are quite clear. Within 10 years of ChAFTA entering into force, tariffs on 95 percent of Australian goods exported to China will be completely eliminated. This includes tariffs on fruits, vegetables, nuts, beef, dairy products, wine and grains,” said Ms Carnell.
Ms Carnell said in a statement that the Labor party must not succumb to misinformed union campaigns and that the agreement would not create an opportunity for large numbers of Chinese workers to enter Australia. Any workers entering Australia will be required to meet skills standards and businesses operating in Australia will be required to employ Australian workers where possible, she said.
“The Federal Labor Party should listen to the senior Labor figures who have backed ChAFTA, including state leaders, former ministers and even a former prime minister,” Ms Carnell said.