Business leaders should keep pressure on governments to reform trade in the face of the ‘narrow self-interest of detractors’, says Joe Hockey.
Mr Hockey told a B20 business leaders forum in Ankara, Turkey, that bilateral free deals such as that between Australia and China were the key to prosperity and jobs.
“Those that stand in the way of free trade are standing in the way of higher growth and job creation,” Mr Hockey told the forum, being held on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers’ meeting.
“It is up to the B20 to hold us to account.
“I urge you not to shirk away from continuing to promote the benefits of our trade links in the face of the loud, but narrow, self-interest of detractors.”
Mr Hockey, who has criticised Labor for questioning the China FTA, said the agreement would have particular benefits for the services sector and small business.
He said the trade deal would improve market access into China for Australian banks, insurers, law firms, education services and health and aged care providers.
The services sector was the largest contributor to China’s GDP and would drive its economic growth in coming years.
Having set a target at the Brisbane G20 summit of lifting global growth by an additional two per cent over the next four years, Mr Hockey said the only way to achieve this was through “diversification and reform”.