Australia China Business Council Interview

ChAFTA or the China Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force on December the 20th  2015. Widely considered to be the most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement signed between China and a developed nation, ChAFTA is undisputedly a significant landmark in the Australia-China relationship and the envy of competitor nations that do business with China.

With 95% of Australian goods tariff free upon full implementation, export products including dairy, beef, lamb, wine, seafood, fruit and vegetables, processed foods, vitamins and health products now claim a more competitive position in the China market.

ChAFTA has also opened up opportunities for the Australian services sector with unprecedented access to China’s burgeoning middle class at a time when China is seeking to develop its own service industries.

Early signs indicate that Australian exports have benefited from reduced tariffs with wine exports increasing by 40% and skin care products up by 71% just to name a few successes .

Today we speak with the chief architect of ChAFTA - former Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb who takes us behind the scenes of ChAFTA negotiations to discuss how the deal was secured and what it means for Australia. In our wide ranging discussion, we cover Andrew’s view on Australian business’ take-up ChAFTA, as well his insights into the sticking points of the negotiations and how access to the services sector was secured.

Until his recent retirement from politics, Andrew Robb was Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment.

In this role Mr Robb not only negotiated ChAFTA, but also Free Trade Agreements with South Korea and Japan. Additionally, he conducted 85 investment roundtables with 28 countries.

Mr Robb is currently a Board Member of the Kidman cattle enterprise and the Network Ten television station, Chair of Asialink and CNSDose, and strategic advisor to Beef Innovations Australia, as well as a range of national and international businesses.

Listen to the full interview here: