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The ANZLF calls for modernisation of 40-year-old Australia-New Zealand trade agreement


In a milestone year marking the 40th anniversary of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER), the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) calls for the removal of barriers to the movement of people and goods, and renewed focus on new areas of opportunity including climate change, the digital economy and indigenous collaboration among others.

ANZLF Co-chair for Aotearoa New Zealand Greg Lowe ONZM said

  • “As both nations reflect on the achievements of the past four decades, it is recognised that progress can and should be made in several key areas. 
  • “The findings of the recent ANZLF Business Survey highlighted a pressing need for Australia and New  Zealand to embrace this opportune moment and modernize CER. By doing so, both nations can facilitate the seamless movement of capital, people, goods, and services in the digital age, fully unlocking the potential of the Single Economic Market.

ANZLF Co-chair Pip Marlow said

  • “Now is the time to make the most of Australia and New Zealand’s special friendship to remove barriers so we can reach the true potential of our people and our products.”
  • “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.”

The ANZLF calls on both governments to:

  • Deliver an open and simplified trans-Tasman border, ensuring the smooth flow of goods and people between Australia and New Zealand.
  • Include climate change considerations within the CER framework, aligning the shared objectives of achieving net-zero emissions.
  • Integrate the digital economy into CER to future-proof a more seamless trans-Tasman regulatory environment, enabling the bilateral trade and economic relationship to navigate the complexities of twenty-first-century business models.

The forthcoming 15th ANZLF meeting will also discuss a range of other important themes, including an expanded work programme for the Australia Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement, recognising the importance of collaboration with Indigenous people in shaping future economic endeavours. 

The infrastructure sector also presents a prime opportunity for joint action, addressing common challenges such as skilled labour shortages, inflationary pressures, and the imperative to decarbonise infrastructure.

The ANZLF has long advocated for collaboration to leverage the power of digital technology, research, and innovation to drive economic growth and prosperity. The 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.

Recognizing 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.

The Co-Chairs said "This report can be the foundation for action in making the Australia New Zealand relationship even stronger. Together, both countries can tackle the dynamic challenges of the next 40 years, while taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities our people, products and innovation will bring”.

About ANZLF: 

The Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) is by invitation and is a high-level meeting of business and government leaders from Australia and New Zealand. It aims to foster and strengthen the trans-Tasman relationship, encourage economic growth, and enhance the prosperity of both nations. 

The 15th ANZLF meeting will take place in Pōneke Wellington on 18-19 July 2023. 

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