Today’s signing of the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement is welcome news.
While Australia’s trade with Hong Kong is already tariff-free, this agreement will establish new rules that will help Australian companies exporting to Hong Kong, especially those in wine and fresh food.
This agreement will need to be considered in the usual way through the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, which means the agreement will be deal with in the next Parliament as that process requires 20 joint sitting days for the committee to consider its report.
Labor supports trade agreements that deliver more opportunities for businesses, more jobs for Australians, and protect Australian workers.
A Shorten Labor Government will also require that all future trade agreements be subject to independent analysis, to ensure that agreements deliver the benefits to Australians that are promised.
More generally, Australia needs to do more to deepen our engagement with Asia.
That’s why as part of our FutureAsia initiative, Labor will:
- Establish a mentoring program for Asia-capable business leaders
- Restore funding to the Asia Education Foundation
- Establish an ASEAN-Australian Studies Centre
- Establish a reciprocal internship program for recent business graduates with China, India and Indonesia
- Host annual trade missions to China, India and Indonesia
- Provide scholarships for those undertaking teaching courses in Asian languages
- Develop an independent Indonesia Economic Strategy
- Establish seven new dedicated geo-economic positions in DFAT’s overseas network
- Expand the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program
- Develop high quality Asian language curriculum materials and establish Asia Capable Schools