The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will hold its first public hearings this week into two significant trade deals with Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham welcomed the start of the hearings into the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (A-HKFTA).

“The JSCOT inquiries are a key part of Australia’s treaty-making process, providing business groups and stakeholders opportunities to use this hearing process to highlight the benefits of these agreements,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With a population of 270 million, a growing middle-class and high levels of economic growth, Indonesia presents enormous trade opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses.

“Australian farmers will be major winners from this deal with producers of grains, live cattle and meat, dairy and horticulture all set to benefit from lower tariffs and improved access to Indonesian markets.

"Under our deal with Hong Kong, zero tariffs will be locked-in on most goods, market access will be guaranteed for services suppliers, and conditions for two-way investment will be significantly improved.

"With one in five jobs in Australia trade related, and our Government committed to boosting the number of Australians employed in trade related jobs by an extra 240,000, we need to continue efforts to expand access to international markets.

“These agreements will provide our farmers and businesses with more choices across more countries, giving them maximum flexibility to respond to changing circumstances or further grow our exports by developing new markets.

“Our Government is committed to swiftly ratifying these agreements so Australian farmers, businesses and investors can see the benefits start to flow as soon as possible.

“We continue to urge the Australian Labor Party to remove any doubt and clearly express support for these two free trade agreements which will unlock new export opportunities for Australian exporters.”

JSCOT will hold public hearings with business groups and other stakeholders in Sydney (26 August), Melbourne (27 August) and Perth (2 September), as well as with government officials in Canberra (9 September).

Details on the hearings can be found at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/Indonesia-AustraliaCEPA/Public_Hearings

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