AUSFTA Joint Committee Meeting
5 May 2016
The fifth meeting of the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee was convened on 3 May (United States) / 4 May (Australia) to review implementation of the Agreement.
The Joint Committee welcomed the tenth anniversary of the Agreement in 2015. Officials from the two sides reaffirmed the importance of the FTA, underscoring that it is a key pillar of the strong and multifaceted partnership between Australia and the United States.
Both countries highlighted the value of the Agreement for Australian and US businesses and investors. Bilateral services and goods trade has increased since the Agreement's entry into force in 2015. The last decade has also seen a massive increase in two-way investment.
Officials discussed the functioning of the Agreement, including related to specific goods, services, and investment issues, and ways to promote continued expansion of trade and investment between the two countries.
The Joint Committee discussed recent trade policy developments and welcomed the close cooperation between both countries in relevant international forums, including the WTO.
The United States is the most significant investor in Australia, accounting for 27.2 per cent (or $758.2 billion) of Australia’s total foreign investment stock as of December 2014. The United States is also by far Australia’s largest destination for investment abroad, accounting for 30 per cent (or $575.5 billion) of Australia’s total overseas investment stock as of December 2014.
In 2014-15, the United States was our third-largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, worth $64.5 billion. Australia’s goods exports to the United States were $13.4 billion. Australia’s total imports from the United States were $44.1 billion in 2014-15. Our bilateral services trade remains healthy, with services exports to the United States worth $7.1 billion and imports $13.7 billion in 2014-15.
DFAT invited submissions as part of our preparations for the 5th Joint Committee Meetings
Doing business under AUSFTA
Your business could benefit from AUSFTA if your product qualifies for preferential treatment (e.g. the elimination of applicable tariffs).
In the context of the finalisation of the negotiations for AUSFTA, the United States also created a new visa category – the E-3 – which to date is available only to Australians seeking to work in the United States. For more information on E-3 visas, see our fact sheet 'E-3 Visas for the United States'.
Have tariffs been eliminated for your product?
All tariffs have been eliminated for imported products from the United States into Australia. See Annex 2-B (Australia tariff schedule) of AUSFTA if you would like to see in detail.
Most tariffs have been eliminated for exported products from Australia to the United States. See Annex 2-B (US tariff schedule) of AUSFTA to check if the tariff for the product you’d like to export from Australia to the United States has been eliminated.
The AUSFTA tariff schedules contain several columns setting out the following:
- Harmonised System Code: This is the tariff number for each product. It is used as the basis for classifying products in order to levy tariffs, apply other trade measures and collect trade statistics.
- Description: This is the description of the product covered by the Harmonised System code.
- Base Rate: This reflects the tariff in effect as at 1 January 2004 (i.e. before AUSFTA entered into force).
- Staging Category: This sets out when tariffs will be eliminated under AUSFTA. Different tariffs are eliminated at different stages. See Annex 2-B (Common Notes, General Notes of Australia, and General Notes of the United States) of AUSFTA .
Do you want to import from the United States into Australia and have more questions?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have resources about importing products from the United States into Australia.
Customs Information and Support Centre can also provide general information about importing from the United States into Australia. Contact them on 1300 363 263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you want to export from Australia to the United States and have more questions?
Contact the United States Customs and Border Protection and see their tariff tool and additional resources about tariffs on exported products from Australia to the United States.
Can your product qualify to benefit from the eliminated tariff?
Your product must be considered an ‘originating’ good to benefit from tariff elimination under AUSFTA. Your product would be considered an ‘originating’ good if it meets AUSFTA’s Rules of Origin (ROOs).
You do not need to submit a certificate of origin for your product to benefit from tariff elimination under AUSFTA. However, if requested by Australian Customs or United States Customs, you should be prepared to submit evidence that your product qualifies as an ‘originating’ good.
You can check if your product is an ‘originating’ good according to AUSFTA’s ROOs in two steps:
- Is your product wholly obtained or entirely produced in Australia or the United States? Examples of such a product include minerals extracted in Australia or the United States, vegetables or fruit harvested in Australia or the United States, or live animals born and raised in Australia or the United States;
- Is your product produced in Australia or the United States entirely from materials originating in Australia or the United States?
If the product meets either one of these requirements, it is an AUSFTA ‘originating’ good.
If the product does not meet these requirements, try Step 2.
Determining whether your product is an ‘originating’ good under AUSFTA’s ROOs can be technical. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Instructions and Guidelines for AUSFTA and their additional resources may be of further help.
You can also contact the Australian Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263 about whether your product is an ‘originating’ good and can benefit from tariff eliminations under AUSFTA.
See official documents and understanding the agreement.
For business advice and support for trading with the United States, you can contact the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade). Austrade provides additional information on free trade agreements and assistance for small and medium sized Australian exporters.
Still can’t find the answer to your AUSFTA question? Contact DFAT:
- United States Trade Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R.G. Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221