ChAFTA Joint Committee meetings

Joint Commission and subsidiary committees

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 first Joint Commission meeting was held on 21 February 2017 in Beijing. The meeting was co-chaired by Justin Brown, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen. The meeting helped to prepare for the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Australia, including announcements of services and investment reviews, and discussed the forward work program of meetings.

The Joint Commission also supervises the work of subsidiary committees. A full list of committees appears below.

List of Committees

Committee ChAFTA reference
Joint Commission Article 14.1
Committee on Trade in Goods Article 2.15
Committee on Trade in Services Article 8.20
Committee on Investment Article 9.7
Committee on Financial Services Annex 8B, Article 7
Committee on Intellectual Property Article 11.24
Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Article 5. 11
Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade Article 6.13
Committee on Movement of Natural Persons Article 10.6

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.

Upcoming meetings

Committee Date Location
Committee on Trade in Goods TBC, 2018 TBC
FTA Joint Commission TBC, 2018 TBC

Past meetings

Committee Date Location
Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures 1 June 2016 Beijing
Committee on Trade in Goods 23 January 2017 Beijing
FTA Joint Commission 21 February 2017 Beijing
Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade 19 May 2017 Canberra
Committee on Trade in Services 25 October 2017 Canberra
Committee on Financial Services 25 October 2017 Canberra
Committee on Movement of Natural Persons 25 October 2017 Canberra
Committee on Investment 25 October 2017 Canberra
Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures 9 November 2017 Sydney

Review meetings

Meeting Date Location
Trade in Services 25–27 October 2017 Canberra
Investment 25–27 October 2017 Canberra
MOU on Investment Facilitation Arrangement 25–27 October 2017 Canberra

Submissions

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:

Email chinaFTA@dfat.gov.au

Mail

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.

Post entry into force

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 [PDF 454 KB], signalling the commencement of reviews of ChAFTA’s Trade in Services and Investment commitments, and a review of the Investment Facilitation Arrangement MOU.

Entry into force

ChAFTA entered into force on 20 December 2015.

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.

Last Updated: 26 February 2018