House of Representatives Committees

Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Committee activities (inquiries and reports)

Review of Australia-New Zealand Trade and Investment Relations

Print Preliminary Pages (PDF 111KB) < - Report Home  : Chapter 1 - >

December 2006

Canberra

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006

ISBN  0-642-78883-9 (printed version)

ISBN  0-642-78884-7 (HTML version)


Contents

Foreword
Membership of the Sub-Committee
Terms of reference
List of abbreviations
List of recommendations

Chapter 1 Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement
Chapter 2 Coordination and Setting the Agenda
Chapter 3 Telecommunications
Chapter 4 Business and investment regulation
Chapter 5 Trade, travel and tourism
Chapter 6 Mutual recognition
Chapter 7 Concluding remarks
Appendix A – Submission List
Appendix B – Exhibits List
Appendix C – List of Hearings and Witnesses
Appendix D - Trade Sub-Committee visit to New Zealand—Meetings


Foreword

Australia has historically enjoyed an important and productive economic relationship with New Zealand. New Zealand is Australia’s fifth largest export market and eighth largest source of imports, and the 1983 Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations (CER) Trade Agreement is Australia’s oldest free trade agreement (FTA).

The Committee’s interest in Australia’s FTAs has been demonstrated previously by its 2005 review of Australia’s FTAs with Singapore, Malaysia and the USA, and it is hoped that this report into the CER will be a valuable contribution to Australia’s economic relationship with New Zealand, and helpful in mapping future directions.

In essence, the Committee found that the relationship is strong in a plethora of areas and advancing across a broad front. However, the Committee feels that there are still several impediments to bilateral trade and investment. One of the key themes that emerged during the inquiry process was that there is a lack of central guidance and oversight of the relationship and its future directions, and this report addresses these concerns.

Since its inception the CER has undergone three reviews, though this is the first by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. In addition, there have been many agreements and Memoranda of Understanding signed by Australia and New Zealand concerning regulatory issues and the harmonisation of domestic policies.

Telecommunications is a substantial area of engagement between the two countries. During the inquiry process several opinions were proffered in this area, and the Committee recommends that a telecommunications Ministerial Council be established to facilitate discussion, and that it be placed on the CER Work Program.

The business and investment regulations underpinning the economic relationship are extensive and beneficial, and the long-term goal of both countries is to develop a single economic market. To this end, the Committee recommends that the issues of withholding tax alignment, and of competition policy harmonisation, be placed on the Work Program for Coordination of Business Law.

The regulatory regime covering the mutual recognition of services, products and professions, driven by the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA), is extensive and well-developed, and further contributes to the goal of establishing a single economic market.

In February 2006 Australia’s and New Zealand’s Trade Ministers agreed upon amendments to the tariff classification approach to the Rule of Origin (ROO) used in trade. These amendments will come into effect on 1 January 2007, and are supported by the Committee, as the bulk of evidence suggests that the changes will be greatly beneficial to bilateral trade.

Tourism is a major driver of bilateral trade and investment, and the two countries work very closely on immigration and border control. Australia and New Zealand have very strong travel and visa arrangements, underpinned by the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement which enables New Zealanders to travel to, live and work in Australia without restriction, and Australians to do the same.

In summary, Australia’s trade and investment relations with New Zealand under the CER have always been close and substantial, though it is important that attention be paid to how the relationship’s momentum can be maintained and enhanced. The CER encompasses a wide range of engagements, and indeed this report shows that it is a world class and highly respected trade agreement of great mutual benefit.

Finally, the Committee would like to extend warm thanks to the Australian Government officials who assisted the delegation with their visit to New Zealand in July 2006. The Committee would also like to acknowledge and thank the New Zealand officials and industry leaders for their hospitality and valuable contribution.

Hon B G Baird MP
Chair, Trade Sub-Committee

Membership of the Committee

Chair

Hon B G Baird MP

 

Deputy Chair

Hon W E Snowdon MP  

Members

Senator A Bartlett

Senator A Eggleston

 

Senator A B Ferguson (ex officio)

Senator D Johnston

 

Senator M A Payne

Senator N Scullion

 

Mr P A Barresi, MP

Mrs T Draper, MP

 

Hon G J Edwards, MP (ex officio)

Mr B W Haase, MP

 

Mr M J Hatton, MP

Hon D F Jull, MP

 

Hon J E Moylan, MP

Hon G D Prosser, MP

 

Hon B C Scott, MP

Mr R C G Sercombe, MP

 

Dr A J Southcott, MP

Mr C P Thompson, MP

 

Mr B Wakelin, MP

Ms M Vamvakinou, MP

 

Mr K W Wilkie, MP

 

Committee Secretariat

Secretary

Dr Margot Kerley

Inquiry Secretary

Mr Robert Little

Research Officer Mr Sam Byfield
Administrative Officers Ms Emma Martin
  Ms Leannah Auckram

Terms of Reference

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade shall examine and report on Australia's trade and investment relations under the Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER) with particular reference to:

Referred to the Committee by the Hon Mark Vaile MP, Minister for Trade on 1 March 2006



List of abbreviations

AAP

Australian Associated Press

AAPT

AAP Telecommunications

AASB

Australian Accounting Standards Board

ACCC

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

ACPSEM

Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine

AMC

Australian Medical Council

ANMC

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council

ANZCERTA

Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement

ANZFRMC

Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council

ANZLF

Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum

ANZTPA

Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority

APEC

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

APRA

Australia Prudential Regulatory Authority

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASRB

Accounting Standards Review Board

CANZ

Canada, Australia and New Zealand

CER

Closer Economic Relations

CTC

Change in Tariff Classification

DCITA

Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

DFAT

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

DIMA

Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

EPSM

Engineers and Physical Scientists in Medicine

ERMA

Environmental Risk Management Authority

FRC

Financial Reporting Council

FRSB

Financial Reporting Standards Board

FRSC

Food Regulation Standing Committee

FSANZ

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

FTA

Free Trade Agreement

HCNC

Health Concern Non-Citizen

IASB

International Accounting Standards Board

IDC

Inter – Departmental Committee

LBSPG

Large Budget Screen Production Grant

NGA

National Gallery of Australia

NRMMC

Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council

NRMSC

Natural Resource Management Standing Council

NZ

New Zealand

NZAC

New Zealand Australia Connections

NZCC

New Zealand Commerce Commission

NZMED

New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development

OECD

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

OGTR

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

PISC

Primary Industries Standing Committee

RBNZ

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

ROO

Rules of Origin

SCIT

Standing Committee on Industry and Trade

SCORS

Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport

SCV

Special Category Visa

SEM

Single Economic Market

SRMC

Sport and Recreation Ministers’ Council

TGA

Therapeutic Goods Administration

TPA

Trade Practices Act

TPIMC

Therapeutic Products Interim Ministerial Council

TTASAG

Trans-Tasman Accounting Standards Advisory Group

TTMRA

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement

UN

United Nations

UNCITRAL

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

USA

United States of America

WTO

World Trade Organisation

List of recommendations

2 Coordination and Setting the Agenda

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that DFAT investigate and report to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Trade and the Treasurer on the feasibility of setting up a CER Coordinating Secretariat/Inter Departmental Committee (IDC).

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that parliamentary travel, between Australia and New Zealand, on Committee work with New Zealand relevance be treated as domestic travel.

3 Telecommunications

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that a Telecommunications Ministerial Council be established.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that telecommunication be placed on the CER Work Program at the earliest opportunity.

4 Business and investment regulation

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that withholding tax alignment be placed on the Work Program for Coordination of Business Law at the earliest opportunity.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that Competition Policy Harmonisation be placed on the Work Program for Coordination of Business Law.



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