Australia’s action plan to remove trade restrictions hampering its exports

Australia is a trading nation, and committed to open markets. In 2017, Australia’s two-way trade surged to a record $763 billion, with exports accounting for more than $386 billion.

This nation is the world’s largest exporter of coal and iron ore, and the 12th largest agricultural exporter. In 2017, its services exports were worth $84.6 billion, and its manufacturing $44.9 billion. Around one in five Australian workers, or 2.2 million people, have jobs in a trade-related activity.

Unjustified restrictions on Australian exports
Non-tariff barriers are a growing issue for many Australian exporters – by some estimates costing as much as three times the cost of formal trade barriers such as tariffs.

Trading partners have the right to set trade rules to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their citizens, and protect animal and plant life, just as the Australians themselves do. These rights are enshrined in the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies. However, they can become barriers to trade when they:

• are unclear or unevenly applied
• exceed what is necessary to meet their stated objective, or
• are introduced to unfairly advantage local industries.  

Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper recognised that these restrictive trade rules have emerged as a prominent issue for many Australian businesses.

Now, many are advocating steps to remove these unjustified restrictions. Click here for the full report.


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