Hon Andrew Robb MP

Australia signs landmark trade agreement with China

Australia signed a landmark Free Trade Agreement with the country’s largest trading partner, China, with total trade worth almost $160 billion in 2013-14, and a growing source of investment.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), signed yesterday, will lock in existing trade and provide the catalyst for future growth across a range of areas including goods, services and investment.

A statement released by the Australian Government said the Agreement “secures better market access for Australia to the world’s second largest economy, improves our competitive position in a rapidly growing market, promotes increased two-way investment and reduces import costs. It is a win for households and businesses alike”.

“On day one of the ChAFTA, more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exports will be tariff free, rising to 95 per cent on full implementation,” the statement said.

“Tariffs will be removed on almost all Australian resources and energy products, including the 8 per cent tariff on aluminium oxide on the first day of the Agreement, benefitting our exports worth around $1.3 billion a year.

“The tariffs on coking coal will be removed on day one, with the tariff on thermal coal being phased out over two years.”

The signing by Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb and his counterpart, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, is “yet further proof that Australia is open for business, and is a testament to the strength of the Australia-China relationship”.

The Agreement will enter into force after the completion of domestic legal and parliamentary processes in China and Australia, including review by the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, and the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee.

Both countries are working to complete these steps and bring the Agreement into force as soon as possible.

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