SUBJECT: Free Trade Agreements
ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area enters into force
HANOI – The Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, HE Mr Allaster Cox, welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) on 1 January 2010.
“This is the largest Free Trade Agreement Australia has ever concluded and the most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement to enter into force for ASEAN. This deal will support industries both in Vietnam and in Australia by promoting exports and building on the complementarities in our trade and investment relationship,” said Ambassador Cox.
AANZFTA will reduce or eliminate tariffs across a region that is home to 600 million people and a combined GDP of A$3.1 trillion. Under AANZFTA, Australia has agreed to systematically reduce tariffs on all tariff lines, with 100 per cent of tariffs to be eliminated by 2020. In return, tariffs on 96 per cent of Australia’s current exports to ASEAN nations will be eliminated by 2020.
AANZFTA also reduces barriers to services trade and provides protections to investors, including through provisions on intellectual property, competition policy and e-commerce. Under the Agreement, Australia will provide up to A$20 million for capacity building and technical assistance to Vietnam and developing ASEAN countries to assist in the implementation of the Agreement.
“Concluding the deal during a time of global economic crisis clearly demonstrates the strong commitment of Australia and the region to opening up markets,” the Ambassador said.
“We look forward to working with Vietnam and other FTA partners to take full advantage of the FTA and to further our cooperation in support of Vietnam’s economic integration,” Ambassador Cox said.
AANZFTA was signed by Trade Ministers from ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand on 27 February 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand. The entry into force of AANZFTA is another important step towards greater cooperation and economic integration in the region.