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China FTA may lift advice exports

The federal government's plans to ramp up service exports to Asia may present significant opportunities for financial advice providers, as it considers a free trade agreement with China. 

Treasurer Joe Hockey has listed financial advice as one of a number of high-quality Australian service industries well poised to take advantage of a growing Chinese middle class, as commentators speculate that a free trade agreement between the countries may be announced as soon as Monday.

Chinese president Xi Jinping is currently in Brisbane for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, which Mr Hockey said will include discussions about the global regulation of financial services and ways in which the government can bolster its service exports.

“Seventy per cent of the Australian economy is services, but it represents only 17 per cent, only 17 per cent, of our exports,” the treasurer told Alan Jones' 2GB radio program, listing both “financial advice” and “financial services” as prime targets for lifted exports.

“If we start to sell our services, then that increases dramatically the wealth of Australia.

“A free trade agreement [with China is about] opening up new doors for Australian services in Asia because the biggest opportunity our nation has ever seen, ever, is the emergence of two billion people into the middle class in Asia in the next 30 to 40 years.

“They are going to want the same lifestyle that we have, and what we want to do is sell them the opportunity to have that lifestyle.”

The comments come as the government flags making changes to the Significant Investor Visa which may limit the asset classes available to foreign investors in Australia.