The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on the proposed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).
AFPA supports the high-level principles of trade liberalisation to remove unnecessary trading barriers and promote greater efficiency, innovation and investment to support global trade. However, these principles must be applied equitably and with comparable tariff reduction commitments from our major trading partners in order to deliver these positive outcomes.
AFPA notes the removal of Chinese tariffs for many other sectors and for specific wood products such as processed radiata pine timber products. However, the proposed ChAFTA delivers an inequitable tariff outcome for paper products which will have an adverse impact on investment and trade in the Australian paper industry.
There is an asymmetrical treatment of paper products, including tissue, copy paper, newsprint and packaging papers – whereby Australian tariffs will immediately drop to zero or fall to zero within 3 to 5 years with no change at all in the Chinese tariff levels for those same products under the proposed ChAFTA.