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The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) established a Joint Commission to supervise the implementation of the Agreement. The Joint Commission comprises officials of both countries and is co-chaired by the trade ministers or their respective delegates. Meetings of the Joint Commission are an opportunity to consider and resolve any matters that may affect the operation of ChAFTA and to explore ways to enhance trade and investment opportunities covered by the Agreement.
The Joint Commission also supervises the work of subsidiary committees. A full list of committees appears below.
Depending on the body, there is flexibility on when, and if, meetings will be convened. The relevant articles contain information on the roles of the committees.
DFAT welcomes contact at any point on the operation of ChAFTA. Written submissions are particularly welcome ahead of Joint Commission meetings. These should be forwarded, preferably by email, per the details below:
China FTA Coordinator
Free Trade Agreement Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
Submissions will be made publicly available on the DFAT website unless the author requests otherwise.
On 24 March 2017, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, and Chinese Commerce Minister, Zhong Shan, signed a Declaration of Intent regarding Review of Elements of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, signalling the commencement of reviews of ChAFTA’s Trade in Services and Investment commitments, and a review of the Investment Facilitation Arrangement MOU.
ChAFTA entered into force on 20 December.
Then Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng signed the Agreement and side letters in Canberra on 17 June 2015.
Mr Robb introduced customs implementing legislation into Parliament on 16 September 2015. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on 22 October and by the Senate on 9 November 2015.
The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) conducted a public inquiry into ChAFTA. On 19 October 2015, the Chair of JSCOT tabled the report of its inquiry into ChAFTA in Parliament. The report included a number of recommendations, including that binding treaty action be taken. Two other Parliamentary committees also reviewed ChAFTA and its implementing legislation. The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee and the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee tabled their reports on 6 November 2015. Both supported binding treaty action.
Following the passage of customs legislation through Parliament, necessary amendments were also made to the associated customs regulations; the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulations 2015; and the Life Insurance Regulations 1995. A ministerial determination was also made under the Migration Act 1958.
On 9 December 2015, Australia and China exchanged diplomatic notes, confirming the completion of domestic processes in both countries.
Two memoranda of understanding on an Investment Facilitation Arrangement and Work and Holiday Visa Arrangement, and a side letter on Traditional Chinese Medicine were also concluded as part of the overall ChAFTA package, but do not form part of the Agreement.