The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed by 15 countries, including Australia, will create more trade and investment opportunities for the nation’s minerals industry, according to the Minerals Council of Australia.
MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said the long-awaited agreement, the world’s largest, signalled Australia and the south-east Asian region’s shared commitment to open trade and investment.
“Trade, investment and economic co-operation maximise opportunities for Australia’s minerals industry to boost national income, generate government revenue and create high-value jobs,” Ms Constable said.
“One in five jobs in Australia is trade-related and exporting companies on average have workforces 24 per cent larger than non-exporting companies and pay 11.5 per cent higher wages.
“Trade and investment boost economic growth, support jobs and improve living standards across Australia including in rural and regional areas.”
Ms Constable said the harmonisation of rules through the agreement provided the basis for significant trade and investment in the fastest-growing region in the world, enabling business to trade and invest efficiently across the range of services, products and infrastructure.
“It also provides the basis for co-operation and partnership that will drive the jobs, productivity and wellbeing of all who participate,” she said.
“Comprehensive regional trade agreements such as RCEP are critical in filling the void created by a stalemate in rules-making at the multilateral level and the rise of protectionist sentiments.
“Deeper integration through regional agreements will generate additional trade and output gains in Australia’s sectors of comparative advantage.”
The MCA’s ‘New Frontiers’ research project released last week has found that Australia’s mining export success story in the Asian region has a long way to run.
“The report highlights Australia’s vital interest in keeping international trade open and growing, and the role of the Australian government in leading by example,” Ms Constable said.