KPMGs Access Asia report found that significant revenue, at least $14 billion, could be lost by Australian businesses if they continue to rely on longstanding agreements, rather than tapping into recently concluded agreements with countries such as China, Japan and Korea.
“Australian governments have negotiated some of the most favourable FTAs in the world, however our FTA usage is very low by world standards. Many businesses don’t know how and whether an FTA would apply to their business, and a lot don’t seem to know the FTA exists at all,” said Doug Ferguson, KPMG Australia’s head of Asia and international markets and the author of the report.
Engagement in this market, dubbed the ‘Asian trifecta of FTAs’, could see an 11 per cent increase in exports, generating $24 billion in cumulative GDP between 2016 and 2035.
China was highlighted as the main target for Australian businesses when trying to establish deals within a 12 to 18 month window. The report noted that companies seeking further trade opportunities in Asia should capitalise on booming online confidence in the marketplace.
The issue was attributed to the lack of comprehensive and affordable FTA advisory services, underpinned by confusion around technical understanding and agreement benefits.
However, the report concluded that there is no ‘one-stop shop’ when it comes to FTA trade facilitation.
“In order to accurately assess FTA entitlements, Australian companies need specialist advice. Turning an Asian investment into a profitable business venture takes careful planning, a disciplined approach and specialist knowledge,” Mr Ferguson said.