Australia-China Free Trade Agreement negotiations

China market snapshot

  • GDP: US$9.181 trillion (2013)
  • GDP per capita: US$6,747 (2013)
  • GDP growth: 7.7 per cent (2013)
  • Population: 1,360.8 million (2013)
  • Trade with Australia: AUD$150.9 billion (2013)

About the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement negotiations

Australia and China share a strong and rapidly growing trade and economic relationship. Further strengthening and deepening this relationship is a major priority for both countries, with both governments committed to sustaining the impressive trade and investment performance achieved in the past two decades. In that time, China has become Australia’s largest two-way trading partner and vital to Australia’s future economic prosperity.

On 18 April 2005, Australia and China agreed to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following consideration of a joint FTA Feasibility Study. The study was completed in March 2005, and concluded that there would be significant economic benefits for both Australia and China through the negotiation of an FTA.

The negotiations are complex, covering an array of issues, including agricultural tariffs and quotas, manufactured goods, services, temporary entry of people and foreign investment.

Key interests and benefits

  • The removal or reduction of the tariff and non-tariff barriers affecting bilateral trade in goods, which could, in particular, reduce transaction costs and improve efficiency.
  • Reduction or removal of regulatory barriers which restrict services in order to support improved trade flows across goods and services of interest to both economies.
  • Implementation of measures to encourage more foreign investment between Australia and China, providing a firm foundation for the future economic relationship.

Map of China - quick facts

Map of China

Yulin, Shaanxi

South Australia-based Neuplex Pty Ltd is taking advantage of the renewable energy boom and working to provide solar power solutions to remote communities in China.

Shanghai

With more than 20 million inhabitants, Shanghai is one of the largest cities in China and the world.

News

Twentieth round of negotiations - May 2014

The 20th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra on 5-8 May 2014.

Update: Twentieth round of negotiations

Nineteenth round of negotiations - June 2013

The 19th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing on 4-6 June 2013.

Update: Nineteenth round of negotiations

Eighteenth round of negotiations - March 2012

The 18th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra on 19-21 March 2012.

Update: Eighteenth round of negotiations

Seventeenth round of negotiations - November 2011

The 17th round of negotiations was held in Beijing on 22 to 24 November 2011. Negotiators discussed the range of outstanding issues.

Update: Seventeenth round of negotiations

Sixteenth round of negotiations - July 2011

The 16th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 5-7 July 2011. Both sides used the round to undertake a stocktake of each others' positions and sensitivities and to clarify the status of the text to date.

Update: Sixteenth round of negotiations

Prime Minister injects momentum into China FTA talks - April 2011

Prime Minister Gillard called for more meaningful progress towards the conclusion of the Australia-China FTA during her visit to Beijing in April 2011.

The Prime Minister said:

“…free trade is good for Australia. Freer trade is good for Australia and China, so we will keep working through it, even though it is an agreement with some areas of sensitivity.”

Fifteenth round of negotiations - 6 July 2010

The 15th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing from 28 to 30 June. This round continued the positive approach that developed at the 14th round in February, which had been the first round since December 2008. Both sides vigorously pursued their concerns and interests in a constructive manner. Many difficult and sensitive issues remain to be resolved.

Update: Fifteenth round of negotiations

Fourteenth round of negotiations - 3 March 2010

The 14th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 24 to 26 February. This was the first round since December 2008, a hiatus of 14 months. Overall the 14th round proved to be a positive re-engagement between the two sides and served to consolidate work done so far. Discussions were held in a constructive manner with each side acknowledging the momentum generated by recent high-level discussions, and the many difficult and sensitive issues that remain to be resolved.

Update: Fourteenth round of negotiations

Thirteenth round of negotiations - 17 December 2008

The 13th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing from 1 to 5 December. In regard to market access for goods, the two sides continued the discussion on their respective sensitivities to tariff liberalisation, as begun at the 12th negotiating round.

Update: Thirteenth round of negotiations

Twelfth round of negotiations - 3 October 2008

The 12th round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Canberra from 22 to 26 September. As foreshadowed at the 11th negotiating round, the two sides began more intensive discussions on their respective sensitivities to tariff liberalisation. Australia pressed China to explain why it was characterising as sensitive a range of agricultural products of interest to Australia. The two sides also discussed the outcomes of the joint wool study.

Update: Twelfth round of negotiations

Eleventh round of negotiations - 27 June 2008

The eleventh round of negotiations on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing from 16 to 20 June 2008. This was the first round since the Prime Minister agreed with his Chinese counterpart in April 2008 on the "unfreezing" of the negotiations, and since the Minister for Trade agreed with China's Commerce Minister to implement a more intensive work program.

Update: Eleventh round of negotiations

Tenth round of negotiations - 1 November 2007

The tenth round of the Australia-China FTA negotiations was held in Canberra on 22-26 October. While we narrowed our differences on some issues and made useful changes to the proposed text of the agreement, overall progress in the negotiations continued to be slow.

Update: Tenth round of negotiations

Ninth round of negotiations - 29 June 2007

The ninth round of the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement negotiations was held from 18 to 22 June in Beijing. Useful progress was made in some areas, but there is no sign of significant movement on market access issues in general.

Update: Ninth round of negotiations

Eighth round of negotiations - 12 April 2007

The eighth round of the Australia-China FTA negotiations was held from 26 to 30 March in Beijing. Useful market access discussions on trade in services continued and talks began on barriers to trade in investment. Progress was also made in discussion of some technical areas of the FTA.

Update: Eighth round of negotiations

Seventh round of negotiations - 20 December 2006

The seventh round of the Australia-China FTA negotiations was held in Canberra from 11 to 15 December 2006. Australia and China tabled their requests and offers on market access for goods (including agriculture) and lists of barriers affecting market access requests on a range of services.

Update: Seventh round of negotiations

Sixth round of negotiations - 14 September 2006

The sixth round of the Australia-China FTA negotiations was held in Beijing from 31 August to 6 September 2006. Discussions were useful, but market access negotiations on goods did not begin as planned. In preliminary talks, both sides agreed that China would need to provide more detailed information to enable the negotiations to commence. No timeframe was set but Australia is pushing for an early start. In the meantime, Australia's tariff offer is on hold.

Update: Sixth round of negotiations

Fifth round of negotiations - 26 May 2006

The fifth round Australia-China FTA negotiations took place in Beijing from 22-24 May 2006. At this meeting both sides started to consider the possible shape and content of an agreement. This followed several meetings with the Chinese in a detailed information exchange about our respective trade and investment regimes. Useful progress was made in a range of areas on drafting the architecture of an agreement during the fifth round, and both sides will start to negotiate actual provisions for access to each others' markets from the next meeting.

Update: Fifth round of negotiations

Fourth round of negotiations - 3 March 2006

The fourth round Australia-China FTA negotiations took place in Canberra from 27 February to 2 March 2006. This was the first substantive negotiating meeting to be held in Australia.

Update: Fourth round of negotiations

Third round of negotiations - 11 November 2005

The third negotiating meeting on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing from 2 to 4 November 2005. The Australian and Chinese delegations included officials from a wide range of agencies. (A list of the agencies represented from both sides can be found in our report of the second negotiating meeting.) The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade led the delegation for Australia, and the Ministry of Commerce led the delegation for China.

Update: Third round of negotiations

Second round of negotiations - 1 September 2005

A second negotiating meeting on the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing from 22-24 August. This was the first substantive meeting between officials on the FTA negotiations (the first meeting, held in Sydney in May, covered procedural issues).

Update: Second round of negotiations

First round of negotiations - 26 May 2005

The first round of talks, held in Sydney on 23 May, focused on procedural issues, including confirmation that the Chinese negotiating team will be led by Zhang Xiangchen, an experienced negotiator and Deputy Director General of WTO Affairs in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Update: First round of negotiations

Submissions

We continue to welcome submissions from individuals and groups on issues relevant to the negotiation of an FTA with China.

Submissions need not be lengthy, and may build on or refer to submissions previously made. Authors of submissions should advise whether they authorise their name and/or the text of their submission to be posted on this website.

General guidance on preparing submissions

Send submissions or comments to

  • Email: chinafta@dfat.gov.au
  • Mail:
    China FTA Coordinator
    Free Trade Agreement Division
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    RG Casey Building
    John McEwen Crescent
    Barton ACT 0221

DFAT has received submissions related to both the FTA Feasibility Study and ongoing negotiations on an FTA, from a wide range of interested parties including industry, professional and non-government bodies, companies, unions, individuals and state and local governments. Many of these have come from peak industry and business organisations.

Copyright and content

Copyright in submissions resides with the author(s), not with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The views expressed in these submissions are the views of the author(s) and should not be understood as reflecting the views of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Submissions received

For business

Doing business in China

Austrade has identified potential opportunities for Australian suppliers of goods and services in a number of sectors. Austrade's China country page supplies general information on doing business and on specific export opportunities. The Austrade website has a database that can be searched by industry.

Resources

Joint Feasibility Study

Other resources

Text of the Trade and Economic Framework

Trade and Economic Framework between Australia and the People's Republic of China

Studies by the Department's East Asia Analytical Unit

Media releases

Transcripts

Speeches

Background Briefings

Text of the Trade and Economic Framework

Studies by the Department's East Asia Analytical Unit

More about China

Contact us

For further information, please contact DFAT's Free Trade Agreement Division:

  • Email: chinafta@dfat.gov.au
  • Fax: (+61 2) 6261 2187
  • Mail:
    China FTA Coordinator
    Free Trade Agreement Division
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
    R. G. Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent
    BARTON ACT 0221

For media enquiries, please call DFAT Media Liaison Section (+61 2) 6261 1555.