Teys called for endorsement of ChAFTA “without delay”

AUSTRALIA'S second largest beef processor has thrown its support behind the China - Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), signed in June, and says criticism of the deal by unions is simply "scaremongering".

Teys Australia says the agreement will bring massive benefits to the manufacturing sector and will stimulate the economy, creating more jobs, including those in regional areas.

Teys general manager corporate affairs Tom Maguire said current tariffs imposed on all Australian red meat exported to China represents an annual tax on the supply chain of around $826 million.

"Anything that opens up a market the size of China can only benefit Australian exporters."

Mr Maguire said union claims of worker exploitation are ridiculous, as current Australian laws prevent this.

"All workers are covered under Australian industrial law irrespective of their nationality, so to suggest otherwise is simply incorrect," he said.

"I suspect the unions are concerned about their dwindling membership base, but the reality is that even they will benefit from stronger Australian manufacturing."

In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Teys called for endorsement of ChAFTA "without delay".

The company said that once fully implemented, "ChAFTA has the potential to boost the gross value of beef production by $270 million annually by 2024".

Teys, which employs 4500 people across Australia and generates over 17,000 full time jobs when flow on effects are considered, adds approximately $2.6 billion to the national GDP.

The company has long called for greater market access to stimulate regional manufacturing, as most of its workforce is based in regional areas.

Mr Maguire said endorsing ChAFTA is an important step and will benefit regional economies, many of which are struggling.