Updated: 2015-12-21 07:46
The trade minister said ChAFTA also opened up a range of new opportunities for Australianservice providers with significantly enhanced market access for financial services companies,law firms, professional services suppliers, education services exporters, as well as health, agedcare, hospitality, construction and manufacturing businesses.
Minister for Tourism and International Education Richard Colbeck said in a statement on Sundaythat ChAFTA is a boost for tourism.
"Not only will ChAFTA strengthen Australia's inbound tourism industry but it will also create newopportunities for Australian tourism providers in China," Colbeck said.
In 2014-15, 927,700 Chinese nationals visited Australia and spent almost A$7 billion($5 billion),more than any other country. Tourism Research Australia forecasts that by 2022-23, 1.5 millionChinese will visit Australia annually and spend over A$10 billion ($7.2 billion).
Under ChAFTA, the Chinese Ministry of Education will promote 77 Australian private highereducation institutions for students who want to study in Australia.
"More Chinese students studying in Australia will have enormous flow-on effects for our localtourism industry," said Colbeck.
The agreement will also inevitably stimulate new levels of growth in the two-way investment whichis currently worth around A$121 billion ($87 billion).
"ChAFTA will also help drive innovation as Australian businesses, big and small, increasinglyexploit e-commerce and other emerging technologies to connect with Chinese consumers,"Robb said. "For example, earlier this year, vitamin supplements manufacturer Blackmores andmeat exporter Sanger Australia each signed agreements with JD.com to sell their products onChina's largest online shopping website."
Australia China Business Council (ACBC) National President John Brumby welcomedChAFTA's entry into force on Sunday.
"Today marks a watershed in Australia-China relations, with ChAFTA now in operation afternearly 10 years of negotiations. The competitive advantages ChAFTA accords Australianbusinesses in the China market are immense and will be immediate, with a first round of tariffcuts on entry into force followed by a second round on Jan. 1, 2016," Brumby said.
"ChAFTA is a substantial achievement for both Australia and China, an important expression ofconfidence in our economic relationship. The agreement will be the platform that will take ourrelationship to a new level," he added.
The trade deal was reached after decade-long talks that began in 2005. The process was greatlyaccelerated after Chinese President Xi paid a state visit to Australia in November 2014 andbrought about the signing of the Declaration of Intent.
CANBERRA -- The free trade agreement between China and Australia has officially entered intoforce on Sunday, giving competitive advantages for exporters and investors from both countriesinto each other's market.
Hailed as "historic" and "landmark" by the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment AndrewRobb, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) enables more than 86 percent ofAustralia's goods exports to China duty free, worth more than 90 billion AU dollars ($65 billion).
Once the agreement is fully implemented, 96 percent of Australian goods will enter China dutyfree, while 100 percent of Chinese exports to Australia will enjoy zero-tariff treatment.
"The signing of the ChAFTA will provide a better platform and an improved institutionalguarantee for the two countries to complement each other with advantages and conduct closewin-win cooperation," Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a message to then Australian PrimeMinister Tony Abbott when the deal was inked in Canberra in June.
While addressing the signing ceremony, Chinese Commerce Minster Gao Hucheng said theChAFTA has "monumental significance" in bilateral relations and will "boost economiccooperation and provide strong impetus to the economic growth of the two countries."
Of all such agreements involving China, it contains "the highest level of overall trade andinvestment liberalization," Gao noted.
Iron ores and concentrates, coal, gold, education-related travel services and copper are China'stop five imports from Australia, while clothing, telecom equipment and parts, computers, furniture,toys and sporting goods are the top five exports to Australia.
Chinese enterprises and consumers will have greater access to natural resources and finishedproducts like high-quality food. Australians will also benefit from cheaper China-made garmentsand electronic gadgets.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb said tariffs have been cut on a range of important Australianexports including dairy, beef, lamb, wine, seafood, fruit and vegetables, processed foods,vitamins and health products.
Tariffs on coking coal (with exports worth 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2014-15) have beeneliminated, while the phased elimination of tariffs on non-coking coal also starts on Sunday.
"This historic agreement with our biggest trading partner will support future economic growth, jobcreation and higher living standards through increased goods and services trade, andinvestment. China, with its population of 1.3 billion people and rapidly rising middle class,presents enormous opportunities for Australian businesses well into the future," Robb said.
"The government's determination to see ChAFTA's commencement before the end of this yearwill quickly produce a double benefit for our exporters, with another round of tariff cuts to follow onJan 1, 2016. This will significantly enhance our competitive position in the Chinese market."