The Australia – New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (known as ANZCERTA or the CER Agreement) is one of the most comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements in existence. It covers substantially all trans-Tasman trade in goods, including agricultural products, and was the first to include free trade in services.
The Agreement's central provision is the creation of a World Trade Organization (WTO)-consistent Free Trade Area encompassing Australia and New Zealand. Since ANZCERTA entered into force in 1983, the two way trade in goods between the two countries has expanded at an average annual growth rate of eight per cent.
Key interests and benefits
- All tariffs and quantitative import or export restrictions on trade in goods originating in the Free Trade Area are prohibited under ANZCERTA.
- Contains measures to minimise market distortions in trade in goods, including through domestic industry assistance and export subsidies and incentives.
- The harmonisation of Trans-Tasman food standards through the ANZFA Agreement of 1995 means lower compliance costs for industry, fewer regulatory barriers, and more consumer choice.
- Mutual recognition of goods and services removes technical barriers to trade and impediments to the movement of skilled personnel between jurisdictions without the need for complete harmonisation of standards and professional qualifications.
ANZCERTA—its genesis and the present
The first trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand dates back to 1922, and essentially stated that each party would trade with the other. This was followed by the Australia New Zealand Trade Agreement in 1933, by which the two countries gave each other preferences and some special rates of duty. A partial free trade treaty, the New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), entered into force in 1966, leading to the removal of tariffs and quantitative restrictions on 80 per cent of trans-Tasman trade by the late-1970s. Because NAFTA was not structured to address the changing international economic environment and because it lacked an effective mechanism for removing remaining restrictions, Australia and New Zealand agreed to develop a more open bilateral trading system.
The objectives of ANZCERTA are to:
- strengthen the broader relationship between Australia and New Zealand
- develop closer economic relations between the Member States through a mutually beneficial expansion of free trade between New Zealand and Australia
- eliminate barriers to trade between Australia and New Zealand in a gradual and progressive manner under an agreed timetable and with a minimum of disruption
- develop trade between New Zealand and Australia under conditions of fair competition.
Since 1 July 1990, all goods meeting ANZCERTA Rules of Origin criteria can be traded across the Tasman free of duty and quantitative import restrictions.
The Trade in Services Protocol brought services into ANZCERTA from January 1989 allowing most services to be traded free of restriction across the Tasman.
ANZCERTA has underpinned a strong growth in trade across the Tasman with an average 8.9 per cent annual growth in New Zealand's exports to Australia and 7.5 per cent annual growth in Australia's exports to New Zealand (1983-2006). New Zealand is currently Australia's seventh largest trading partner, eighth largest source of foreign investment and third most important destination for Australian investment abroad.
Over the 30 years of CER, the composition of trade between Australia and New Zealand has changed dramatically, reflecting changes in technology, competitiveness, domestic industry structure, trade liberalisation and consumer demand.
ANZCERTA forms the foundation of a broader economic and trade relationship with New Zealand. It is supplemented by more than 80 government-to-government bilateral treaties, protocols and other arrangements—covering trade and the movement of people, investment, aviation, business law coordination, mutual recognition of goods and professions, taxation, health care, social security, superannuation portability, food standards and government procurement.
With most of the trade goals now met, the CER work program focuses on 'third generation' trade facilitation issues aimed at fostering closer economic integration through regulatory harmonisation and the creation of a more favourable climate for trans-Tasman business collaboration. Australian and New Zealand Governments now are taking a strategic approach to shaping and guiding a Single Economic Market (SEM) to enable business, consumers and investors to conduct operations across the Tasman in a seamless regulatory environment.
During their meeting in Canberra on 20 August 2009, the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers committed to a Single Economic Market Outcomes Framework setting out principles to accelerate regulatory harmonisation and alignment in order to stimulate business and create jobs. A Trans-Tasman Outcome Implementation Group meets each quarter to oversee and report on work to accelerate regulatory and business law harmonisation under the SEM.
Last updated March 2014
Map of New Zealand - quick facts
New Zealand's business centre and international trade hub.
New Zealand's world-renowned wines from the Marlborough region are cheaper for Australian consumers under the ANZCERTA.
A popular adventure tourism destination for Australians; around 50,000 visit each year.
Here you can locate the full text of the Australia – New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement and many other associated official documents.
Guide to the CER
Trade in goods
- Customs Legislation Amendments (New Zealand Rules of Origin) Act (2006)
- The CER Agreement 1983
- Annexes A- F and attachments (no longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Fruit Juice Products (no longer operative)
- Protocol on Acceleration of Free Trade in Goods (1988) (Fully implemented on 1 July 1990)
- Exchange of Letters on Tariffs and Quantitative Import Restrictions (1988)
- Mutual Determination on Quantitative Export Restrictions (1988) (Fully implemented on I July 1990)
- Exchange of Letters on Trans Tasman Trade in Dairy Products (1988) (No longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Annex F (1992)
- Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures
- Exchange of Letters and Joint Understanding of Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures (1988)
- 1988 CER Review Joint Understanding: Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures (Including attachments)
- Protocol and Agreed Minutes on Harmonisation of Quarantine Administrative Procedures (1988)
- Amendments to Article 3 - Rules of Origin (1992 Review of CER)
- Exchange of Letters on Rules of Origin (no longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Direct Shipment Rule (1992)
- Protocol on Customs Procedures for Trans Tasman Textile, Clothing and Footwear Rules of Origin Enquiries (1995)
- Rules Governing Entitlement to Preferential Rates of Duty for Trans-Tasman Trade (1995)
Trade in services
- Protocol on Trade in Services to the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations -Trade Agreement Canberra, 18 August 1988 [PDF 9 KB]
- Annex: Services inscribed by New Zealand and Australia as of 1988 [PDF 8 KB]
- 1992 Review (Exchange of Letters) [PDF 4 KB]
- Annex as of 1992 [PDF 12 KB]
- 1995 Review (Exchange of Letters) [PDF 19 KB]
- Annex as at 9 March 1999
Protocol on investment
- Protocol on Investment to the Australia - New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement  ATS 10 | Treaty Text
- Side letter concerning New Zealand's reservation with respect to water [PDF 16 KB] | [DOC 33 KB]
- Side letter concerning the New Zealand MFN reservation [PDF 16 KB] | [DOC 31 KB]
- Side letter concerning clarification of Australian non-conforming measures at regional level of government [PDF 17 KB] | [DOC 33 KB]
- Annex I: Schedule of Australia [PDF 118 KB] | [DOC 149 KB]
- Annex I: Schedule of New Zealand [PDF 129 KB] | [DOC 199 KB]
The Regulatory Environment for Business
- Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Australia on the Coordination of Business Law (2010)
- Trans-Tasman Memorandum of Understanding on Coordination of Business Law [PDF external] (signed 22 February 2006)
- Australia's Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Trans-Tasman Banking Supervision) Act
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) Co-operation Protocol
- Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Barriers to Trade (1988) [PDF 9 KB]
- Exchange of Letters Amending the Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Barriers to Trade (1992) [PDF 44 KB]
- Exchange of Letters on Third Country Dumping (1992) [PDF 45 KB]
Government Assistance and Purchasing
- Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1988) [PDF 42 KB]
- Exchange of Letters amending the Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1989) [PDF 42 KB]
- Exchange of Letters on the Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1992) [PDF 54 KB]
- Government Procurement Agreement (September 2007 revised)
- Agreed Minute on State Government Purchasing Preferences (1988) (New Zealand is now a party to the Commonwealth/State Government Procurement Agreement) [PDF]
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 27 November 2013
- 2012 CER Ministerial Forum: Joint Statement, 15 November 2012
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 23 June 2010
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 9 August 2009
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 15 August 2008
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 31 July 2007
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 20 September 2006
- CER Joint Ministerial Forum Communiqué, 11 December 2004
- Australia – New Zealand Trade Minister's Meeting, 2003 - Communiqué