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WTO agreement a win for Aussie exporters

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Australia’s entry to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on government procurement will help boost Australian exports, says Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox.

Australia will become the 48th member of the agreement when it joins next month.

Australia’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) provides Australian exporters with greater transparency and opportunities to share in a $1.7 trillion market, said Mr Willox.

The accession will provide Australian businesses of all sizes a reciprocal, legally bound access to the government procurement markets of the 47 current GPA members worth about $2.3 trillion each year.

At present, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, Japan, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei are all members of the GPA.

The membership will also open up new markets for Australia as it will also have access to the markets of future GPA members. Nine new members are currently in the process of joining the GPA, including China whose total procurement market alone is estimated to be worth more than $2.5 trillion.

Competitive advantage

It will boost Australian exports, as the market includes industries like construction and highway maintenance equipment, mining equipment and technology, agricultural machinery and equipment, water purification and sewage treatment equipment, environmental goods, and health and pharmaceutical supplies.

Australian exporters already have a competitive advantage in these entities, Mr Willox says.

“The carve outs that the Australian negotiators have secured will ensure that our SMEs and Indigenous-managed businesses will continue to have access to the Australian government procurement market,” he said. “And we will continue to protect the supply to our essential services, such as security, defence and government communication.”

Mr Willox said DFAT and Austrade will need to inform Australian exporters of the opportunities under the new agreement.

Also, they must be diligent in protecting the increased access and monitoring compliance among other GPA members.

Win for all Australians

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said Australia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation’s GPA is a win for all Australians,

“By creating new opportunities for Australians to sell our world-class products and services, this agreement can help employers create new jobs and invest in higher wages,” Ms Westacott said.

“The GPA guarantees Australian businesses access to international government procurement markets worth trillions of dollars, giving employers the chance to export even more of Australia’s world-class products and services.

“Crucially, the impact of this agreement is set to grow, with room for China to sign on. This gives us a pathway to access a growing market of government contracts.

“We welcome today’s commitment to this agreement and the strong message it sends to the world – that Australia is committed to freer and more open markets.”

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