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Australia – Pressing Ahead With Free Trade Agreements.

3 March, 2014

 

 

The Australian Government is currently in the process of negotiating eight free trade agreements (FTAs), with the aim of increasing investment and liberalising market access. The Government is seeking to finalise these FTAs in the short to medium term. This reflects the new coalition Government’s stated desire to ”open Australia up for business”.


The Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) was the first FTA completed and the Government is reportedly set to finalise the Australia-Japan FTA (JAFTA) and the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in the coming months.


Agreement on KAFTA was reached on 5 December 2013 and the agreement is set to come into operation later in the year following domestic approval processes in Australia and Korea. As a result of the KAFTA, tariffs will be eliminated on key Australian exports to Korea such as resources and energy and new market opportunities will be available in industries such as education and finance.


The JAFTA has been under negotiation since April 2007 and it is understood that the Australian Government will seek to finalise negotiations when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits Japan in April this year. It is expected that the JAFTA will be as comprehensive as the KAFTA.


The TPP is a regional FTA under negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the USA. The agreement is one of the most significant and comprehensive multi-national FTAs currently under negotiation, with the 12 member states representing approximately 26% of world trade. The countries met in early December for ”advanced stage negotiations” and the negotiations are now reportedly in their final stages. 

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Leon Chung, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills

leon.chung@hsf.com

 

Homegrown International Trade Law Firms in Australia

 

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