Monday, September 1, 2008

Australia - New Zealand - Asean Conclude FTA

Previously Posted on Trade Lawyers Blog:

On August 28, 2008, Australia and New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalem, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) concluded a comprehensive free trade agreement.  The ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) in essence is an agreement between Australia and new Zealand (who signed the Australia - New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement in 1983) and the ASEAN nations (which signed an agreement in 2004). It is expected that the AANZFTA will be signed in December.

The FTA is comprehensive and covers trade in goods, services, financial services, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, movement of natural persons, intellectual property, competition policy, and economic cooperation in a single agreement. Many of the ASEAN trade agreements divide these areas into more than one agreement.

The ASEAN nations have signed free trade agreements with China, Japan and India.  If the agreements combine, they would formulate the largest free trade area in the world.

The ten ASEAN countries have a population of 570 million people, third after China and India and a combined GDP of estimated at around US$1 trillion, second only to China in emerging Asia. As a group, ASEAN is a larger trading partner for Australia (16 per cent) than any single country, including Japan (13 per cent), China (12 per cent) or the United States (11 per cent). However ASEAN attracted only a modest 5% of Australia’s foreign direct investment as at December 2007.

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

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