Oct 18, 2017 Last Updated 7:56 AM, Oct 18, 2017

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China and Australia sign free trade agreement

AusBN – A free trade agreement between China and Australia has been signed by the two countries.

It is hoped that the agreement will increase market access for Australian beef and wine exporters and give Chinese carmarkers and electronics producers access to the Australian market.

Negotiations on the agreement were concluded in 2014 but it was formally signed this week by Australia’s trade minister and China’s commerce minister.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbot said that he believes the agreement would give the two countries “unprecedented access to each other’s markets.”

He added: “It removes barriers to Australian agricultural exports across a range of products, including beef, dairy, lamb, wine, horticulture and seafood.

“It means duty-free entry for 99.9% of our resources, energy and manufacturing exports within four years.

“But it’s about so much more than just exporting more and reducing tariffs. Australian services providers, financial, education, health and aged care will have new access to China’s services sector, a sector that is already the largest contributor to China’s GDP and is set to drive economic growth in coming years.

“For China, this agreement liberalises the screening threshold for Chinese private sector investment in Australia and it puts Chinese businesses in the same position as those of our other major trading partners.

“And of course it means that Australian consumers will pay less for cars, for clothes, for electronics and other goods imported from China.”

The full text of the agreement is still subject to inquiry by parliament’s joint standing committee on treaties.

@AusBNOnline

Archer Capital acquires Dun & Bradstreet’s local business

AusBN – Archer Capital has acquired Dun & Bradstreet’s local business for A$220 million.

The acquisition includes the company’s consumer risk, debt collection and commercial solutions.

Dun & Bradstreet International has recently switched to a global network partner model and Archer Capital will become its partner globally.

Bob Carrigan, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, said: “We’re excited to welcome Archer Capital’s Credit Data Solutions as the newest member of our worldwide network.

“Our partnership allows us to maintain a strong commercial foothold in the market, and we’re delighted to have a partner that will help us expand our presence there.”

Archer Capital’s Frank Heckes added: “We believe there are many opportunities to invest in and grow each of these businesses.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the Dun & Bradstreet ANZ management team and to being a valuable member of Dun & Bradstreet’s Worldwide Network.”

@AusBNOnline

Ford Australia reports losses

AusBN – Ford Australia has released its 2014 financial year results and has reported a A$190.7 million loss.

The result brings its total losses over the past decade to $1.3 billion, which is the lowest sales have been since 1966.

However, the company’s total operating costs also significantly decreased to less than its $266.7 million loss in the previous financial year.

Company spokesperson Wes Sherwood said: "Other than the headline number, we think a key is that these results show our long-term business is strengthening as our operating results improved nearly $3 million (the loss was reduced from $26 to about $23 million) based on a better mix of sales.

"We have been emphasising this each month as our sales have declined because a big reason is we are shifting to more private retail sales and less large fleet business. 

“In fact, we only have about 5% of the rental car business we had just a few years ago.

"We also think it’s important to note we invested another $367 million in R&D in Australia last year, on top of nearly $6 billion the past six years and significantly more than any other auto company."

@AusBNOnline

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