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Ai Group response to US Paris announcement

"The United States' withdrawal from the Paris Agreement creates damaging uncertainty for businesses worldwide. It makes it even more important for the Australian Government to provide clear climate policy that upholds our trade competitiveness and underpins long-term investment," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today.

"The global challenge of climate change needs a global response, and the Paris Agreement remains the best and only framework on offer to coordinate action by advanced, emerging and developing economies.

"The ramifications of today's announcement will take time to play out; early signs are that other major economies, including China, India, Europe and Canada, will remain firmly committed both to the Agreement and their own national targets. The Australian Government has confirmed our own participation.

"The announcement nevertheless represents a major increase in uncertainty around international tensions, trade disputes, and the United States' global role.

"Major investments in Australian industry and energy hinge on how Australia and the world choose to respond to climate change. Without a clear case for long-term investment we will wind up with an energy system that is simultaneously insecure, unaffordable and high-emitting.

"Without confidence in widespread international action we face long-term risks to trade competitiveness. The Paris Agreement is a key part of the answer.

"The Australian Government's decision to stay in the Paris Agreement will reduce the uncertainty facing Australian businesses. However, it remains critical that the design of Australian climate policies upholds our trade competitiveness.

"Just as China, Europe and others do, Australia should be able to reduce emissions without damaging our trade-exposed industries. This is a central consideration in the current national review of climate policy.

"The United States has left open the possibility of rejoining the Paris Agreement or negotiating a new climate agreement. We can only hope that they find a way to work with the world on this issue and avoid wider damage to trade and investment," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347