The German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce welcomes the conclusion of the scoping study as a key step towards the formal negotiations for an Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The German-Australian Chamber is a strong advocate of a comprehensive Australia-EU FTA to remove tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, resulting in increased trade and investment. This in turn will support economic growth both in Australia and the European Union.
As outlined by Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, The Hon Steven Ciobo MP, the scoping discussions were concluded within less than 18 months. In 2015-16, two-way trade was worth $95.6 billion and total investment stock from the EU was almost $1 trillion.
A FTA between Australia and the EU is a significant opportunity to boost trade and investment. This is especially true for medium-sized enterprises who currently face the biggest challenges. Some of the issues identified within the German-Australian business community by the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce include import duties and similar trade barriers such as the luxury car tax, product standards and specifications, visa regulations for overseas workers, recognition of overseas qualifications and skills as well as foreign investment rules. Those points were also raised in the Chamber’s submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), accessible via the DFAT website’s EU FTA section.
The German-Australian Chamber has also advocated the importance of removing barriers also on the EU-side with the European Commission in a joint submission with the New Zealand-German Business Association and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
After reaching the important step of an agreed scope for the negotiations, it is now important to start the formal ne-gotiations early in the second half of 2017 and to aim for negotiations of a comprehensive agreement. In light of some global developments, outlining the benefits of free markets and competition is more important than ever.
The German-Australian Chamber will continue to monitor the developments and to engage with the stakeholders, of-fering our expertise from being on the forefront of the German-Australian business relationship for 40 years. This also includes the insights generated through the German-Australian Chamber’s Policy Advisory Committee, comprising of highly engaged companies from key sectors of the bilateral economic relationship.