The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) supports the negotiation of a high-quality free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the Pacific Alliance group of countries comprising Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.
There are significant opportunities for greater trade, investment and economic engagement between the mining industries of Australia and the Pacific Alliance countries. Australia has a world-class mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. Resources exports made up more than half of Australia’s total exports of goods and services in 2017. Exports of mining services and mining-related equipment and technology are a growing opportunity for Australia. Countries developing their own mining sectors, such as the Pacific Alliance nations, are key markets for METS exports. Australian mining businesses are also major outward investors in minerals exploration and development in countries with significant minerals and energy resources and are active in all of the Pacific Alliance countries.
An FTA with the Pacific Alliance has the potential to advance the economic relationship between Australia and these Latin American countries. It can help realise future opportunities by building on Australia’s existing bilateral FTAs with Chile and Peru, complementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), which includes Mexico, Chile and Peru, and extending Australia’s network of trade agreements to Colombia.
Mining is an area where an FTA with the Pacific Alliance can add value to Australia’s existing trade agreements with these countries. This can be achieved both by seeking additional liberalising commitments in goods and services market access and investment disciplines, and by exploring opportunities to promote commercial linkages between Australia’s mining sector and the mining sectors of the Pacific Alliance countries. Accordingly, the MCA supports the Australian Government addressing mining industry issues in the goods, services and investment provisions of the proposed FTA and by seeking to negotiate a separate chapter or annex to the agreement devoted to mining and mining services.
This submission outlines the Australian mining industry’s broad interests in trade and investment negotiations and makes suggestions for issues which could be considered in a mining annex to the Pacific Alliance FTA.