It has been 40 years since the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER) was signed, which has prompted the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) to call for the removal of barriers to the movement of people and goods, and to re-focus on new opportunities that have risen including climate change, the digital economy, and indigenous collaboration among others.
Both nations have recognised that progress can and should be made in several key areas, and that now is the time to make the most of Australia and New Zealand’s special friendship to remove barriers to reach the true potential of people and products.
ANZFL Co-Chair for New Zealand, Greg Lowe, said that renewing the agreement will offer a fresh perspective.
"Businesses on both sides of the Tasman are clear that there are huge benefits to modernising CER, especially as both nations focus on collaboration with Indigenous peoples, digitising the economy and achieving net zero carbon emissions," said Lowe.
The ANZLF has called on both governments to deliver an open and simplified trans-Tasman border to ensure the smooth flow of goods and people between the two countries and to include climate change considerations within the CER framework, aligning the shared objectives of achieving net-zero emissions.
Lowe also said that integrating the digital economy into the CER was a way of future-proofing a more seamless trans-Tasman regulatory environment that would enable a bilateral trade and economic relationship to navigate the complexities of twenty-first-century business models.
Another area of focus for a renewal is the infrastructure sector, which presents a prime opportunity for joint action, and addresses common challenges such as skilled labour shortages, the imperative to decarbonise infrastructure, and inflationary pressures.
ANZFL has been a long-time campaigner for collaboration to leverage the power of digital technology research, and to explore how to drive economic growth and prosperity. Lowe said that further evolution of the bilateral Science, Research, and Innovation Cooperation Agreement is anticipated as part of the CER 40-year anniversary programme, supporting the trans-Tasman innovation ecosystem.
“Recognising the strong interest of business leaders in collaboration between Australia and New Zealand to take on the world together, the ANZLF looks forward to exploring effective partnerships with the Pacific region to address local and regional challenges.