About the negotiations

Domestic consultations for the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) commenced in 2004 and negotations concluded in November 2014.

ChAFTA entered into force on 20 December 2015.

China–Australia FTA negotiations

Following 21 rounds of negotiations, the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, and the Chinese Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng, signed a Declaration of Intent in the presence of Prime Minister Abbott and Chinese President Xi, formalising the conclusion of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) negotiations. This took place in a ceremony held at Parliament House on 17 November 2014.

Leading up to and during the negotiations, the government received more than 260 public submissions on ChAFTA. Around 710 direct consultations were also held with stakeholders.

More information on public consultation, and all other aspects of ChAFTA, can be found in the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and the National Interest Analysis (NIA).

Resources

The Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Report 154: China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The Australian Government also provided a response to a Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Report [PDF 33 KB] in April 2006.

Joint Feasibility Study

In March 2005, an Australia-China Free Trade Agreement Joint Feasibility Study [PDF 1.4 MB] was conducted to scope the benefits of an FTA with China.

Two reports were also produced based on modelling of a proposed FTA with China:

Implementation process

ChAFTA entered into force on 20 December 2015. The agreement 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 table below provides a snapshot of the key event in the implementation process.

Key events in the implementation timeline

17 November 2014

At a ceremony at Parliament House, former Australian Trade and Investment Minister, Mr Andrew Robb AO MP and the Chinese Commerce Minister, Mr Gao Hucheng, signed a Declaration of Intent, formalising the conclusion of ChAFTA negotiations.

17 June 2015

ChAFTA was signed in Canberra by Mr Robb and Mr Gao. The same day, Mr Robb tabled ChAFTA in the Australian Parliament. Mr Robb’s tabling statement is available for download.

16 September 2015

Minister Robb introduced customs implementing legislation into Parliament.

19 October 2015

The Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) that conducted a public inquiry into ChAFTA tabled the report of its inquiry in Parliament. The report included a number of recommendations, including that binding treaty action be taken.

22 October 2015

ChAFTA implementing legislation passed by the House of Representatives.

6 November 2015

Reports by two other Parliamentary committees that 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) were tabled in Parliament. Both supported binding treaty action being taken.

9 November 2015

ChAFTA implementing legislation passed by the Senate.

9 December 2015

Exchange of diplomatic notes between Australia and China confirming the completion of domestic processes in both countries.

20 December 2015

Entry into force; first round of tariff cuts.

1 January 2016

Second round of tariff cuts.

20 December 2016

68 additional Australian private higher education institutions listed on a key Chinese Ministry of Education website.

1 January 2017

Third round of tariff cuts.

Last Updated: 8 January 2018

Contacts

Email: chinafta@dfat.gov.au

Phone: +61 2 6261 1888 (within standard business hours)