Pacific free-trade deal welcomed

CCI has welcomed reports that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will be signed by Australia and 10 other nations later this year.

The TPP – which aims to promote free trade in the Pacific rim – includes Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott says the revival of Australia’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is great news for WA businesses, which will benefit from greater market access and lower tariffs with 10 Asia-Pacific economies with a combined GDP of $13.7 trillion.

“CCI’s fundamental belief is that free trade will be the cornerstone of WA’s globally focused export-driven economic future,” she says.

“Exports of goods and services are already the primary driver of WA’s economy, accounting for about 40 per cent of gross state product in 2014-15.

“By building on existing partnerships and opening up new markets, businesses will have greater access to market opportunities and will boost jobs, particularly in WA’s agriculture and resources sectors.”

There are aspects of the TPP that businesses need to be aware of, however. These include the provision for self-certification, which will increase the workload of importing customs that request proof of origin from exporters.

This aspect could potentially reduce import duty tax collected where exporters, knowingly or unknowingly, incorrectly self-certify.

Wilmott says CCI can help navigate through some of the complexities of the TPP and other free trade agreements.

“CCI has, however, found that multiple trade agreements with countries can cause confusion,” she says.

“Any business considering exporting should be aware of the risk associated with self-certifying and the liabilities arising from incorrect declarations.

“CCI provides services to ensure businesses are appropriately certified and to assist with navigating often complex trade agreements.”

Incoming CCI CEO Chris Rodwell can attest to the significance of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership after spending the past four years developing trade and investment opportunities for Australian business as Trade Commissioner to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

“Ratification of the TPP is one of the most significant triggers for trade and investment flows in Australia’s recent history,” he says.

“This will provide WA with an opportunity to build on existing partnerships and forge paths to economic prosperity with two new markets, Canada and Mexico.

“Mexico, like Canada is a G20 economy with significant growth prospects over the coming decades, presenting major opportunities for WA businesses to diversify our exports.

“I look forward to working with WA business to identify and seize all opportunities the TPP and other trade partnerships present.”

For more information on the TPP and other free trade agreements please contact CCI’s International Trade and Investment Centre on 9365 7620. 

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