Australian business stands to reap huge rewards from one of the world’s largest free trade agreements, after Australian negotiators successfully concluded trade talks today.
Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have now concluded and the result is the largest and most significant trade agreement Australia has ever signed.
RCEP covers 15 nations, over 2.1 billion people, about 29 per cent of the global economy, and includes our most important destination markets within this single agreement.
The conclusion of the agreement is an important reminder that open markets are the pathway to economic prosperity and development for all people.
ICC Australia acting director Andrew Willcocks said the new mega-regional agreement “will change the landscape of trade in our region forever”.
“This agreement will create huge market access for Australian exporters by further dropping tariff barriers in foreign markets for a wide range of Australian goods,” Mr Willcocks said.
“Currently our tariff barriers are moderate in the destination markets thanks to existing free trade agreements, however this new mega-regional agreement outstrips the benefits for goods available under even the more recent Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“It is disappointing that India has not decided to join as yet, but we hope that in time they will.”
As the RCEP agreement covers so many markets with which Australia already has existing trade agreements, ACCI urges the Government to undertake a stock take of the noodle bowl of overlapping trade agreements. The Government should look to opportunities to rationalise superseded agreements, to remove red tape and make it easier for business to take advantage of the benefits on offer.
“We look forward to scrutinising the text once it is released, along with an economic analysis, to understand the full benefits that will come from this major pact,” Mr Willcocks said.
“We would also like to congratulate Australian negotiating teams for playing a pivotal part in pulling off one of the world’s biggest and most complex deals in trade history.”