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50 years of Holden exports.

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Media release

Wednesday, 10 November 2004 - MVT87/2004

50 Years of Holden Exports

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today congratulated Holden on 50 years of exporting.

"Holden's celebration of 50 years of successful exporting is testament to the benefits of trade liberalisation," Mr Vaile said.

"With more than 600,000 vehicles and four million engines shipped all over the world, Holden is one of the great Australian export success stories.

"The Australian automotive industry has moved from one of the most protected

sectors in the post-war period, to one of the most competitive and successful. E xports are growing, on average, at more than 10 per cent per annum and are now worth close to $5 billion a year.

"Opening Australia's economy to international competition has stimulated Australian auto manufacturers to adopt more efficient practices, meet high international standards and venture beyond our shores to capture huge overseas markets.

"We continue to pursue new export markets for Australian-produced vehicles and components, and have ensured that increased access is a key feature of the free trade agreements we have negotiated with Thailand and United States. We are also pursuing better conditions for Australian auto producers in the lucrative Chinese market."

Under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), tariffs of 80 percent on large passenger motor vehicles will be eliminated from 1 January 2005, while those on smaller vehicles will be cut to 30 per

cent and phased to zero by 2010. Tariffs on parts and components will be cut immediately to 20 per cent and phased to zero in 2010. Under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), US tariffs on autos and auto parts will all be eliminated when the agreement comes into force on 1 January 2005.

"The Government remains committed to assisting the automotive industry cement its future as an innovative international competitor," Mr Vaile said.

"Automotive tariffs will fall to 10 per cent in 2005 and five per cent in 2010, and the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme (ACIS) has been extended for ten years to 2015 to help the industry adjust to the lower tariff regime."

Holden has exported a total of 613,126 vehicles and about 3.9 million engines from 1954 to the end of last year. Holden has exported 148,753 vehicles and 838,821 engines in the past five years contributing almost $5.8 billion to Australia's balance of trade.

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420 - DFAT Media Liaison 6261 1555