Trade and investment
Free Trade Agreement Utilisation Study
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Report
Download the full report
The key findings of the report are:
- Australia's North Asian FTAs have high utilisation rates for merchandise trade.
- Internationally-engaged Australian businesses are aware of the North Asian FTAs are view them favourably. Understandably, appreciation of the detailed requirements of FTAs, along with their applicability based on industry or product and the process for obtaining FTA preference, varied among businesses, especially at the SME level.
- FTAs are influencing business activity, confidence, strategy, expansion planning and international investment, including in the services sector. However, they are not viewed as a silver bullet by industry, but are regarded as complementary to business strategy.
- While FTAs provide greater regulatory certainty for Australian service providers and investors in partner markets, these commitments to liberalise services are still new territory for businesses. The full service market outcomes of Australia's North Asian FTAs will take time to bear fruit, and will become evident over future years.
- Options to optimise business utilisation of FTAs include streamlining origin documentation arrangements, reducing compliance costs, digitising forms, providing further education and advocacy (particularly for SMEs), and implementing measures to improve understanding of services and investment commitments in FTAs. Existing review mechanisms in FTAs could help to enhance and align their benefits.
- Along with the Australian Government, industry associations and business groups play an important role in assisting businesses understand and utilise Australia's FTAs. Trade intermediaries also have an important role in assisting businesses to use FTAs effectively.