The benefits of free trade agreements

The Australian Government’s free trade agreements (FTAs) policy aims primarily at maximising the economic benefits flowing to Australia from the negotiation of these agreements.

Free trade agreements foster freer trade and investment flows

FTAs open up opportunities for Australian exporters and investors to expand their businesses into key overseas markets. FTAs can improve market access across all areas of trade — goods, services and investment — and help to maintain and stimulate the competitiveness of Australian firms. This benefits Australian consumers through access to an increased range of better value goods and services.

FTAs don't just reduce and eliminate tariffs and quotas, they also address behind-the-border barriers that impede the flow of goods and services between parties, encourage investment, enhance cooperation and can address other issues such as intellectual property, e-commerce and government procurement.

FTAs encourage business productivity and innovation

FTAs can increase Australia's productivity and contribute to higher GDP growth by allowing domestic businesses access to cheaper inputs, introducing new technologies and fostering competition and innovation.

FTAs can promote regional integration

FTAs promote regional economic integration and build shared approaches to trade and investment, including through the adoption of common Rules of Origin and through broader acceptance of product standards.

FTAs enhance competitiveness and attract foreign investment

FTAs can enhance the competitiveness of Australian exports in the partner market, and add to the attractiveness of Australia as an investment destination.

FTAs offer more benefits over time

FTAs can continue to provide benefits to parties as the agreements are implemented, including through phase-ins and in-built agendas that encourage ongoing domestic reform and trade liberalisation.

FTAs can help developing countries

FTAs can deliver enhanced trade and investment opportunities that contribute to the economic growth of less-developed economies.

Last Updated: 18 April 2018