Bureaucratic delays and ”bureaucracy” weigh on traders for cross-border trade. Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has therefore become an important issue for the global trading system. Interested members are invited to exchange their needs assessments or implementation plans through these Australian contact points, as this will contribute to the consideration of trade assistance options. Some MEPs expressed specific concerns or questions about aspects of Australia`s indirect tax system, including recent changes to the extension of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to cross-border trade in digital goods and services and benefits granted to certain producers through the wine offset tax. The luxury car tax, combined with similar increases in taxes at the state level, has significantly handicapped the exports of some trading partners. Australia has also been asked to reform its tax regime for offshore banks. In their statements, MEPs praised Australia for continued economic expansion, which has come closer to nearly three decades of uninterrupted growth. Strong performance was anchored in a strong institutional framework based on open trade and a generally positive attitude towards foreign investment. Prudent macroeconomic policies, including reasonable fiscal policy, have provided economic stimulus and assistance in response to adverse conditions, whether in global markets or due to the vagaries of weather or climate change.
Some of these weaknesses, such as recent bushfires and coronavirus prevalence, may increase. Additional support would undoubtedly be needed to increase productivity and address other persistent challenges. This eighth review of Australia`s trade policy has allowed us to track and recognize significant developments in Australia`s economic, trade and investment regime over the past five years. In particular, I would like to thank the head of the Australian delegation, Mr George Mina, the first assistant secretary, the Trade Negotiations Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and his colleagues in Canberra, who travelled very long times to participate in this review in exceptional circumstances, as well as our interlocutor, Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom. , for his valuable remarks and ideas. I would also like to thank the WTO members who asked written questions in advance and some 40 delegations for their formal statements, which allowed us to carry out the procedure as a `virtual audit`. During the reporting period, Australia ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which led to a further simplification of customs procedures and allowed the market to open up by adhering to the multilateral agreement on public procurement and the implementation of the Information Technology Agreement. Australia also accepted the protocol amending the TRIPS agreement and pledged to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property.