AUSFTA Joint Committee Meeting
7 December 2017
The sixth meeting of the Australia – United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) Joint Committee was convened on 6 December (United States) / 7 December (Australia) to review implementation of the Agreement.
Officials from the two sides reaffirmed the importance and strength of AUSFTA, which underpins the bilateral economic relationship between Australia and the United States. Australian officials highlighted that the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper emphasises the importance of deep and broad economic engagement with the United States and the vital role played by AUSFTA to facilitate robust commercial relationships. Australian officials noted their agreement with Vice President Pence who during his April visit to Australia described AUSFTA as a model for a mutually beneficial agreement and a model for the world.
The Joint Committee Meeting, a consultative mechanism in AUSFTA, enabled officials to discuss the functioning of the Agreement, recent trade policy developments and ways to continue to grow trade and investment.
The United States is the largest and most significant investor in Australia, accounting for 27 per cent (or $861 billion) of Australia’s total foreign investment stock as of December 2016. The United States is also by far Australia’s largest foreign investment destination, accounting for 28.4 per cent (or $617 billion) of Australia’s total overseas investment stock as of December 2016. Two-way investment has almost tripled since the Agreement came into force.
In 2016, the United States was our second-largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, worth $64.3 billion. Australia’s goods exports to the United States were $12.4 billion. Australia’s total imports from the United States were $29.7 billion. The United States also remains Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in services, with two-way trade accounting for 15 per cent (or $22 billion).
Both countries agreed to hold a seventh meeting of the Joint Committee, possibly at the end of 2018.
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. Please search or browse the FTA Portal if you would like to see detail. Alternatively, see Annex 2-B (Australia tariff schedule) of AUSFTA.
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