German-Australian Chamber supports FTA negotiations

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations announced today by Australian Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and European Commissioner Dr Cecelia Malmström in Canberra.

The German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce welcomes the formal launch of the EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations as announced today by Australian Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and European Commissioner Dr Cecelia Malmström in Canberra.

If a comprehensive FTA can be negotiated between Australia and the EU, it has the potential to significantly boost the trade and investment relationship, including the bilateral German-Australian economic relationship. The European Union has produced an Impact Assessment Report that outlines the potential benefits of the FTA under different scenarios. This Impact Assessment Report by the EU has concluded that a comprehensive FTA has the potential to increase EU GDP by 0.02 % compared with the current situation without the FTA; this increase is a significant €4.9 billion in the long term. Based on the Impact Assessment Report, the Australian real GDP is estimated to grow by 0.20%, which is €4.2 billion.

In the view of the Chamber, this would be achieved if the agreement removes the significant tariff and non-tariff trade barriers that still exist in the relationship, including items such as removal of tariffs, recognition of standards, easier investment conditions and access to government procurement. Also the Luxury Car Tax should be addressed as part of the FTA negotiations. It is also essential to support a high utilisation rate of the FTA by small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME) by including a special SME chapter and by making rules such as country-of-original rules SME-friendly. This will benefit Australian SMEs and German Mittelstand companies and improves not only GDP growth, but will also create greater choice for consumers.

The German-Australian Chamber has been very active in the lead-up to this official launch of the negotiations and will continue to constructively contribute to the public debate and to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including the member companies of the Chamber, DFAT, the European Commission and German government, EABC and other business organisations. As part of the global AHK network, including the DIHK office in Brussels, we will also continue to engage with global stakeholders because it is a particularly important moment to communicate and discuss the benefits of open trade and investment.

The Chamber and its Board, in collaboration with the Policy Advisory Committee and through the Director of Policy, have made a number of relevant submissions, including to the Australian Parliament in regards to utilisation of FTAs by SME, to DFAT in regards to the FTA and to the Department of Home Affairs in regards to the related topic of the Australian visa system. Please find the documents in the sidebar to the right, and the links to the Impact Assessment Report below:

European Union Impact Assessment Report: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=SWD%3A2017%3A293%3AFIN

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