Australian Business Council welcomes new trade agreement

By Harry Allan

The World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has just been inaugurated and, according to the Business Council, will have profound effects for Australian businesses.

When in full swing, TFA will expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. The Agreement also provides fresh measures for effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation. It also contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

In response to the formal adoption of the Agreement Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said: “When an agreement has the potential to add $1 trillion to the world economy, it’s worth pausing to welcome its entry into force.

“The World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement has that potential, as well as to create 21 million jobs by removing red tape and streamlining unnecessary border clearance processes.

“The OECD estimates that full implementation of the agreement could reduce the costs of cross border trade by more than 10 per cent for developed countries.

“While Australia’s trade facilitation regime is already best practice, our exporters of goods, including food manufacturers, will be among the biggest beneficiaries from streamlined procedures in other countries, particularly for perishable and other time-sensitive consignments.

“Australia’s trade ministers and negotiators – both Labor and Coalition – have played a pivotal role in the successful conclusion of this agreement and should be congratulated.

“Trade is Australia’s lifeblood. It is the only way to provide the sustained economic growth that funds real increases in wages and living standards.

“Over the broad sweep of history, trading societies have been the most prosperous, constantly learning and borrowing from other cultures and stimulating new advances in science, philosophy and industry.

“At a time when the benefits of trade are being questioned, it will be crucial that bipartisan support for a more liberal world trading order and the institutional arrangements underpinning it continues.” 

Business Review Australia's February issue is now live. 

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