Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Australia's Largest Free Trade Agreement Starts

Media release

3 January 2010

Trade Minister Simon Crean today welcomed the commencement of Australia's largest free trade agreement – the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

The historic agreement will span 12 economies with over 600 million people and a combined GDP of $3.1 trillion.

"The commencement of this agreement is a major milestone and opens up significant opportunities for Australian businesses in one of the fastest growing regions in the world," Mr Crean said.

"With Asia leading the global recovery and six out of ten ASEAN markets expected to grow at rates at least double the forecast OECD average in 2010, there is great potential for Australian exporters to enter new markets."

"This agreement is also an important building block towards deepening Australia's economic integration with the dynamic Asian region."

"As of today, the Agreement covers around 70 per cent of Australia's trade with ASEAN countries with which we do not have bilateral FTAs," Mr Crean said.

The agreement includes:

"By 2020, the deal will eliminate tariffs on 96 per cent of our current exports to ASEAN nations," Mr Crean said.

ASEAN accounted for 15 per cent of Australia's trade, valued at $83 billion in 2008-2009. This is as large as Australia's trade with China, Australia's largest trading partner

42 per cent of our total exporter base – about 18,500 Australian exporters – trade with ASEAN.

AANZFTA is Australia's first multi-country FTA and the most comprehensive FTA ever concluded by ASEAN.

In addition to Australia and New Zealand, AANZFTA has entered into force for the following ASEAN countries: Brunei, Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are expected to ratify the Agreement in the early part of this year.

"I urge the Australian business community to take full advantage of the many benefits that this far-reaching agreement has to offer," Mr Crean said.

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