The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has today welcomed the federal parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) report recommendations to ratify free trade agreements with Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Released yesterday, the report recommends that the Parliament moves to ratify the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (A-HKFTA).

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said food and grocery manufactures will greatly benefit from ratification of the deal and that any opportunity to help manufacturers to export their goods to the world is a great support Australia’s biggest manufacturing sector.

“The food and grocery manufacturing sector provides over 324,000 jobs and nearly 40 percent of those jobs are in rural and regional Australia,” said Ms Barden.

“Providing access to export markets with improved trading arrangements enables favourable conditions to expand the business, thereby giving confidence to invest domestically, leading to increased employment and economy contribution.

In 2017-18, total exports for the sector was $34.4 billion, with Hong Kong and Indonesia ranking 6th and 8th largest export destination with exports of $1.4 billion and $0.8 billion.

“The AFGC hopes to see a fast ratification in the Parliament before the end of the year and welcomes the bipartisan support from all Australian political parties for the AI-CEPA and A-HKFTA,” said Ms Barden.