22 May 2017
By Eve Bentley
April and May have been marked as significant months for the ANZCCJ, with visits from the Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo MP, as well as the New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Bill English and his accompanying business delegation. Amid global concerns about entering a new era of protectionism with regards to trade, regional trade meetings held in Vietnam over the past weekend (Sunday 21 May) are pivotal for the future of Australian and New Zealand trade liberalisation and associated benefits.
The Australian and New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have respectively released their perspectives on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) which has been under negotiation, between the 16 members, for the past four years and is hoping to be finalised by the end of 2017. The RCEP builds upon the strong relationships that Australia and New Zealand already have in Asia, has the potential to open up many more opportunities with the region's fastest growing economies and provide strategies for further growth.
Similarly, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has also been a topic of discussion for both countries visiting ministers, as Australia, New Zealand and Japan lead the primary discussions for TPP 11, an agreement which promises economic benefits despite the United States withdrawal. Aiming to liberalise the flow of goods among countries in the Pacific Rim, TPP would ultimately result in new economic opportunities for Australian and New Zealand businesses. Access to new markets provides our exporters with opportunities for expansion as well as our physical proximity to Asia giving us a comparative advantage to benefit from Asia-led trends of a growing middle and upper class, rising incomes, and increasing urbanisation.
TPP aims to provide a way to promote regional economic integration, contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for all stakeholders involved, including workers, families, businesses and consumers. These efforts would address our concern about protectionism, contribute to maintaining open markets, strengthening the rules-based international trading system, increasing world trade, and raising overall living standards. The recent regional trade meeting in Hanoi underlined the vision for TPP to be expanded in the future to other economies, as well as for the TPP agreement assessment to be prepared before the next APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November of 2017.
As such, given this month’s significant free trade discussions and negotiations, the ANZCCJ is motivated to continue to pursue the outcomes of their roundtable talks with the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) in Japan, as well as the aforementioned objectives presented by the visiting trade ministers respectively, and Prime Minister English.
To read the actions and outcomes from the 23rd Meeting of APEC Ministers responsible for Trade, click here.
To read more about the RCEP from the Australia DFAT, click here.
To read more about the RCEP from the New Zealand MFAT, click here.
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