The first-ever report comparing attitudes of Chinese and Australian business leaders towards bilateral engagement was conducted by NAB and the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney.This excerpt from the report synopsis examines how Australian and Chinese businesses believe the Australia China Free Trade Agreement will impact bilateral engagement.
The impact of the Free Trade Agreement is viewed more favourably by Chinese business.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has had only a modest positive impact on the engagement intentions of Australian business. A different picture emerges by industry, with the services sector most positively impacted.
A more positive picture emerges for Chinese business. Just over 3 in 4 Chinese firms said that the FTA had at least some impact on their plans to increase their focus on Australia.
Where the FTA played a role in the decision of Australian firms to increase engagement, the main benefits were seen from lower tariffs and reduced business costs and greater government support for business engagement.
There are some differences by business size in regards to the main impacts of the FTA. The majority of medium and small firms believe that the biggest impact will come from lower cost of trade, but the majority of large firms identified government support for greater business engagement as the key driver of their decision.
From the perspective of Chinese business, the FTA demonstrates that the Chinese government is giving engagement with Australia a big tick of approval, and this is even more important than lower tariffs and a relaxation of investment barriers.
Chinese business views Australia more favourably as a location for business investment
Chinese businesses rate Australia highly as a location for business investment.
Most Australian businesses recognise that China represents good opportunities for business growth. However, Australian businesses are more hesitant about China as a location for business investment, and have some concerns about legal protection and rules and regulations.
Source: NAB ACRI Key bilateral insights from the inaugural Australia-China Business Engagement Index Synopsis. Pages 2 and 4