Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Joint Media Release with the Prime Minister

25 October 2009

Largest Australian Free Trade Agreement to Begin in 2010

The largest Free Trade Agreement Australia has ever concluded will come into force on 1 January 2010, following discussion between ASEAN leaders today.

The Agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) spans 12 economies, with over 600 million people and a combined GDP of $3.1 trillion.

The Agreement will cover a massive 20% of Australia’s two-way trade, worth $112 billion.

The deal will eliminate tariffs on 96 per cent of our current exports to ASEAN nations by 2020.

Currently, only 67 per cent of our exports to the region are tariff-free.

This will support Australian industry by promoting exports, and will play an important role in supporting Australian jobs.

This will be the most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement to enter into force for ASEAN, covering a range of areas including:

The nations covered by the AANZFTA are the 10 ASEAN Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam; and Australia and New Zealand.

When the global financial crisis began at the end of last year, one of the greatest threats to economic recovery was the potential for an outbreak of national protectionism.

The initial signing of the AANZFTA in February was an important sign of the determination of nations to work together to build economic recovery, and today’s announcement cements that cooperation.

The entry into force of AANZFTA is also another important step towards greater cooperation and economic integration in the region.

 

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office, Clinton Porteous, 0403 369 588 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555