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Australian Govt should do more to open markets in Taiwan: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE

SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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Sunday, January 17 05/93 AITUR ALIAN CO W S D 129J1410 22 OPEN / M an TAMS

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The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said that growth of Australian trade to Taiwan was being seriously hampered by trade barriers.

Senator Hill returned yesterday from a brief visit to Taiwan where he addressed an academic symposium on regional security and economic co-operation.

During the visit, Senator Hill stressed to Premier Hau Pei-Tsun and others in the administration in Taipei the importance of an open trading environment to regional security.

"Although Taiwan is Australia's fourth largest market for exports, some markets remain closed to Australian goods and many remain severely restricted," Senator Hill said.

"There seems an over-reliance by the Australian Government on a successful outcome of the Uruguay Round and Taiwan's application to join the GATT to resolve these issues.

"But the Australian Government's decision to link Taiwan's GATT application with that of the Peoples' Republic of China means that it may be a long time before Taiwan becomes a full member.

"Hot enough effort is being devoted bilaterally by the Australian Government to open up restricted markets in Taiwan.

"Taiwan passed legislation last Thursday providing a legal basis for trade negotiations between Taiwan and member states of the GATT.

"Under a GATT working party to consider Taiwan's membership application, the issue of Taipei's response to various bilateral negotiations would be considered.

The legislation should therefore be used by Australia as a tool to press for the reduction of barriers, particularly in commodity trade where Australia is prejudiced.

"Although there has been some improvement in recent years, Labor governments in Canberra have been unduly hesitant in pressing bilateral negotiations with Taipei.

COMMONWEALTH .../2 PAR LIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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*High tariffs remain on processed foods (40 per cent and upwards), which is hampering an area of enormous potential growth for Australia.

*Discriminatory tariffs remain in other areas, such as beef products, which benefits the United States at the expense of Australia.

"Markets for some fruit products are closed or severely restricted for Australia.

*During my visit, I particularly raised discrimination against Australia in the supply of apples. Australia has a quota of just 67 tonnes, compared with New Zealand's 2000 tonnes and the US's unlimited quota.

*There are many other areas of trade potential.

"The number of Taiwanese students studying in Australia remains low, with just 1400 here in 1991. This market has enormous potential. Australian institutions need to be better promoted in Taiwan, along with our educational and research record, particularly in sciences.

"Tourism trade is growing quickly following the start of direct flights between Australia and Taiwan - an issue the Federal Opposition had pressed for years.

But the potential of this air link is far from being fully realised.

It is vital that the link is expanded beyond Australia's eastern states. •

*Utter freight facilitation for high value producers of perishables, such as those in Tasmania, is also important. Eva Airways - a subsidiary of the Evergreen group, the world's largest cargo transport company - will soon start direct

flights and it should be encouraged to meet this urgent freight need.

"The Liberal/National Coalition in government will pursue the Taiwan market with vigour to ensure the opening of new market opportunities in one of the fastest growing economies in the world."

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Enquiries: Senator Bill on (08) 373 4214