Victoria is well placed to leverage major growth opportunities following the recent signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) has welcomed the new agreement which presents Victoria with significant opportunities to widen and deepen trade and investment with the world’s second largest economy.
The state has a diverse and competitive industry base, with great growth potential.
“The prospects for new trade and investment extend not only to our agriculture sector, but resources, energy, manufacturing and service industries,” said VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.
Victorian industries expected to benefit under the new deal include:
Dairy: Victorian dairy farmers will benefit from the removal of tariffs on their dairy products entering China, including infant formula, liquid milk, cheese, butter and yogurt. This puts Victorian businesses in a much stronger position when competing against New Zealand dairy farmers who already benefit from their FTA with China.
Fruit and vegetables: As Victoria was Australia’s largest exporter of horticulture goods in 2013-14, the elimination of Chinese tariffs on vegetables, fruit and nuts will open up even more opportunities for Victorian farmers and other agribusinesses.
Legal services: Victorian law firms will be able to establish commercial associations with Chinese law firms in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
Financial services: Victorian financial services providers in the banking, insurance, and funds management sectors will enjoy improved market access as China continues to advance economic reform and liberalisation.
Education and training: Victoria’s world renowned private higher education sector will receive increased promotion and improved recognition in the Chinese student market with a Chinese Ministry of Education website listing all registered providers.
Health and aged-care: Increased ownership rights have been secured for Victorian hospitals and aged-care providers, allowing them to wholly own hospitals and aged-care facilities in China.
Manufacturing: Tariffs on Victorian pharmaceuticals being exported to China will be eliminated, including those on vitamins and health products.
Tourism and travel: Victorian tourism operators can now construct, renovate and operate wholly Australian-owned hotels and restaurants in China. Victorian travel agencies/tour operators are also able to establish wholly Australian-owned subsidiaries in China for tours within China for both domestic and foreign travellers.
Mr Stone said VECCI recognised that under the new agreement increased Australian market access by Chinese producers will put pressure on some Victorian industries.
Australian tariffs on Chinese imports in some sectors will be phased out over time, but businesses would have time to adjust and stay competitive.
“The challenge for small to medium sized businesses is to understand what changes in business operations, practices or strategies are needed to capitalise on opportunities from the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement,” he said.
Employers can access tools, tips and information on getting into exporting or growing existing exports by visiting www.vecci.org.au.