THE MINERALS SECTOR AND THE AUSTRALIA CHINA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The Australian minerals sector welcomes the finalisation of the FTA with China and the elimination of tariffs on Australian exports of minerals and energy commodities valued at $15.5 billion annually.

The agreement is a watershed achievement in Australia’s relationship with China.  It marks a new phase in Australia’s relationship with North Asia, building on the recent agreements with Japan and Korea.

The agreement will eliminate tariffs that add nearly $590 million in costs to the bilateral minerals and energy trade.

The agreement will eliminate the 3 per cent coking coal tariff immediately and the 6 per cent tariff on thermal coal within two years.  That is a superior deal to that provided under the ASEAN-China FTA which phased out thermal coal tariffs over four years.

We are also pleased that all remaining tariffs on minerals commodities have been eliminated.  These applied to a wide range of products including alumina, zinc, nickel, copper and uranium.

We applaud the work of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb and the negotiating team in completing an outstanding job to secure this outcome.

In relation to inward investment, we support the extension of similar liberalised commitments as provided to other trading partners in comparable FTAs, including the US, Korea and Japan.

We also support the existing provisions of the relevant legislation relating to proposals by foreign governments as they do in the case of the US, Japan and Korea free trade agreements.

At the national level, a liberalising agreement with our largest trading partner and the world’s second largest economy will be an important contributor to Australian prosperity over the next three decades. It will also complete the latest phase of Australia's integration with three North Asian economic powerhouses - Korea, Japan and China.

At the sectoral level, the free trade agreement will further strengthen a minerals and energy trade already worth more than $80 billion annually.

Importantly the announcement will strengthen a growing investment relationship, with the total stock of Chinese foreign investment in Australia at $32 billion in 2013, including substantial investment in the minerals sector.

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