Release type: Media Release


China FTA a big win for Tasmanian jobs


Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Employment
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Tasmania

“Today’s Free Trade Agreement with China is unequivocally good news for all Tasmanians, especially job seekers and small and big employers in Tasmania,” Leader of the Government in the Senate Senator Eric Abetz said today.

“The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement means Tasmanian industry is well placed to expand its exports to China, attract growth-enhancing investment and create more jobs.

“Under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), Tasmania’s high-quality agricultural and resource exports will be significantly more competitive in China.

“The growth and changing consumption patterns in China favour exactly the sort of high-quality exports which Tasmania does best.

“The big winners in this deal are the Tasmanian seafood and agriculture industries, as well as the manufacturing and services delivery sectors.”

Key ChAFTA goods outcomes include:

  • tariffs of 12-25 per cent on beef will be phased out over nine years;

  • tariffs up to 15 per cent on cheese, liquid milk, butter and yogurt will be phased out over nine years;

  • tariffs of 12-23 per cent on sheep meat will be phased out over eight years and the 7 per cent tariff on sheepskin over four years;

  • tariffs on seafood, including rock lobster, abalone, oysters and salmon, will be phased out over four years;

  • tariffs of up to 30 per cent on wine, walnuts, most fruits, vegetables, chocolate honey and other nuts will be phased out over four years; and

  • tariffs on unwrought zinc, copper and most aluminium products will be eliminated on day one of the agreement.

“Prior to the signing of this deal, the Tasmanian agriculture sector has been at a disadvantage, having to compete with Chile and New Zealand who benefit from their own Free Trade Agreements with China, especially in the dairy and wine industries,” Senator Abetz said.

“The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will progressively close this gap.

“It will also give Tasmania a significant jump over larger players in the Chinese market – such as the US, EU and Canada."

Senator Abetz said Tasmania would benefit in the services sector as well.

“Chinese interest in investing in Tasmania has the potential to bring real money and job opportunities,” Senator Abetz said.

“Under ChAFTA, private Chinese investors will receive higher screening thresholds on investment proposals into Australia, consistent with investments from the US and New Zealand, and soon Korea and Japan.

“The Tasmanian tourism sector will also benefit from Australia’s agreement with China to grant up to 5000 visas to Chinese work and holiday makers every year.

“Tourism is a trade and investment priority for this Government – this is great news for Tasmania.

“China is already Tasmania’s largest export destination.

“In 2013, Tasmanian goods exports to China were worth more than $594 million.

“The Australian Bureau of Resource Economics and Sciences forecasts that China will account for 43 per cent of global growth in agricultural demand to 2050.

“This fantastic news comes on the eve of an historic visit to Tasmania by Chinese President Xi Jinping.”