Queensland Law Society

Queensland Law Society discusses opportunities provided by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Queensland Law Society (QLS) hosted a breakfast this morning, celebrating 100 of Queensland’s top lawyers recently recognised in the Chambers Asia Pacific Guide 2015, Best Lawyers in Australia 2016 list and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2015.

The breakfast featured a panel discussion focusing on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), and the opportunities that will arise for Australia’s legal firms.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Stephanie Daveson led the panel of experts which also included King & Wood Mallesons partner Stefan Luke.

The panel explained the improved market access for Queensland legal firms, the size of the market, and its enormous potential in the area of state-owned enterprises.

Announced in November 2014, the agreement will see barriers to labour mobility between Australia and China removed.

QLS president Michael Fitzgerald welcomed the opportunities for Australia, and in particular Queensland, afforded by this agreement with such a significant services market for Australia.

“China is our largest two-way trading partner, accounting for almost a third of Australia’s exports at a value of $159 billion in 2013-2014.

“Queensland law firms will be able to establish commercial associations with Chinese law firms in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone after meeting special requirements, opening significant opportunities.

“The different approaches to common commercial transactions and different styles of doing business provide new opportunities in Queensland, particularly in light of the downturn in commodities activity over the past decade,” he said.

ChAFTA will also provide greater access between both countries for business travel, skills recognition and streamlined licensing procedures.