Australia’s Trade Agreements

About free trade agreements

Across the globe, there is an expanding network of free trade agreements (FTAs). High-quality, comprehensive free trade agreements can play an important role in supporting global trade liberalisation and are explicitly allowed for under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

FTAs can cover entire regions with multiple participants or link just two economies. Under these agreements, parties enter into legally binding commitments to liberalise access to each others' markets for goods and services, and investment. FTAs also typically address a range of other issues such as intellectual property rights, government procurement and competition policy.

The Government will not enter into any trade agreement that falls short of the benchmarks set by the WTO or the benchmarks we set ourselves of high-quality, truly liberalising trade deals that support global trade liberalisation.

Australia has seven FTAs currently in force with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, US, Chile, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (with New Zealand) and Malaysia. The countries covered by these FTAs account for 26 per cent of Australia's total trade.

Australia signed an FTA with Korea in April 2014 and an EPA with Japan in July 2014. These agreements will enter into force when domestic processes have been completed. Korea and Japan account for 5 and 11 per cent of Australia’s total trade, respectively.

Australia is currently engaged in seven FTA negotiations - three bilateral FTA negotiations: China, India and Indonesia; and four plurilateral FTA negotiations: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Pacific Trade and Economic Agreement (PACER Plus), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). The additional countries covered by these negotiations account for a further 29 per cent of Australia’s total trade.

FTAs are helping Australian exporters access new markets and expand trade in existing markets.

Port of Mackay
Port of Mackay

News

Tabling of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement in the Australian Parliament

July 2014

Minister Robb tabled the text of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement with the National Interest Analysis in the Australian Parliament on 14 July 2014. The Agreement will now be considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). More information about JSCOT and details on how to make a submission.

Signature of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement

On 8 July 2014 Prime Minister Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement during an official ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

Media release: Historic trade deal with Japan to drive growth

Signature of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement

The Minister for Trade and Investment Mr Robb and his South Korean counterpart, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Mr Yoon Sang-jick, signed the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement on 8 April 2014. The ceremony was witnessed by Australian Prime Minister Mr Abbott and his South Korean counterpart, President of South Korea Ms Park Geun-hye.

Conclusion of Negotiations with Japan

On 7 April 2014 Prime Minister Abbott announced the conclusion of negotiations on the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

The agreement will provide valuable preferential access for Australia's exports, better than any of Japan's agreements with other partners. Australia and Japan are natural partners with highly complementary economies. The agreement will bring our economies and societies even closer and underpin a strong relationship for many years to come.

Republic of Korea's interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Republic of Korea has formally expressed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and other TPP countries have welcomed its interest and are now undertaking a bilateral process with Korea to discuss its readiness to join.

To assist in this process we would welcome further submissions and comments from stakeholders considering Korea's possible involvement in the TPP. Submissions can be made by email to tpp@dfat.gov.au. Please note all submissions will be made publicly available on the DFAT website unless the author specifies otherwise.

ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) enters into force for Indonesia

Australia welcomed entry-into-force for Indonesia on 10 January 2012. AANZFTA is now in force for all 12 signatories: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

At the inaugural Indonesia-Australia Annual Leaders' meeting, 20 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, Prime Minister Gillard and President Yudhoyono stated in their Joint Communique, “Great potential exists to promote trade and investment links between the two economies — the two largest in the region. We welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and committed to commence negotiations on an Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement at the earliest opportunity”.

More information: ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA

Amendments to the Singapore-Australia FTA

Singapore and Australia have completed the second review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). The amendments entered into force on 2 September 2011.

The second review amended Chapters 8, 10, and 13 as well as Annexes 3A, 4-I(A), 4-II(A), 4-I(B) and 4-II(B). Key changes include:

  • Singapore and Australia to accord investors from each country fair and equitable treatment when investing in the other country;
  • prohibition of performance requirements; and
  • amendments to reflect changes to legislation in Australia (the Copyright Amendment Act 2006) and Singapore resulting from each country’s bilateral FTA with the United States.

View the full, amended agreement here.

WTO: World Trade Report 2011

The most recent World Trade Report from the World Trade Organization looks at the ever-expanding, global network of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). The paper finds that these agreements often go beyond "shallow" tariff-reduction to facilitate deeper economic integration through coverage of non-tariff regulatory issues that lie "behind the border".

World Trade Report 2011, The WTO and preferential trade agreements: From co-existence to coherence.

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