Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Questions without Notice
Trade with China
I thank Senator Bushby for his question. Thanks to the leadership of our Liberal-National government, the business-to-business ties between Australia and China are stronger than they have ever been. It was our government that sealed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. In doing so we have seen a supercharging of the Australian economic relationship with China. This was on show very clearly in Shanghai at the China International Import Expo last month. Australian businesses were there at that expo in force. Indeed, Australia was in the top three in terms of countries for products exhibited at this major event hosted by China. We stood there alongside Japan and Korea, having the largest single presence at this expo in product presence. Significant businesses have enjoyed great success, such as the Tasmanian business Bellamy's Organic. There was a strong presence across apparel, accessories and consumers goods in some business areas, medical equipment and medical care products, services including education—all different businesses representing the different streams of Australia's rich and deep economic relationship with China. Whilst there I was pleased to witness the signing of almost a dozen MOUs worth around $15 billion in terms of Australia's continued economic relationship with China. Blackmores, ANZ, Tourism Australia in partnership with China Eastern Airlines, Austrade in partnership with Suning—all of them demonstrating that we have even further to go in terms of strengthening and growing the Australia-China relationship. And it is not just the economic ties; the people-to-people ties are being strengthened as a result of this partnership too. In the year to March, 1.4 million Chinese visitors came to Australia and 185,000 Chinese students studied in Australia—great signals for the strength of this relationship into the future.
Industry has seized the opportunities created by our partnership with China, by the leadership of our government in getting the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement done. Industry has opened up trade, seeing some 22 per cent growth in two-way trade last year. Our exports of wine, milk powder and skin-care products more than doubled. Our nickel exports more than quadrupled. Exports of lobster and table grapes grew eightfold. All of this translates into economic opportunities for Australian businesses and employment opportunities that secure the prosperity of Australian families.
Tasmanian business Hellyers Road Distillery produces quality whiskies that they export to over 20 countries. Their product has become Australia's biggest selling overseas whisky. They have embraced the opportunity of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. They say: 'There is no doubt that the free trade agreements have facilitated the increased number of inquiries from Asia. Thanks to the FTAs, we have been able to build up several Asian contacts that we are now building relationships with, creating more opportunities in Tasmania.' (Time expired)
All Australian states and territories have seen real benefits, but Tasmania has seen particularly strong benefits. In 2017, more than 40 per cent of Tasmania's goods exports went to China, Japan or Korea—all countries with whom our government has sealed a free trade agreement. These exports were worth $1.4 billion to the Australian economy—
Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting—
I would have thought Senator Whish-Wilson might care about this—and were a 34 per cent increase on just the preceding year. That is such strong growth. It is growth that we are seeing in unwrought zinc, for example.
In unwrought zinc exports, with tariffs bound at zero, we have strong growth out of Tasmania—nearly $1 billion. In terms of those FTAs with China, Korea and Japan, we have seen important growth in chilled fish with more than $90 million in exports. Trade has underpinned 27 consecutive years of growth in Australia, and it will keep doing so. (Time expired)