Australia`s Biggest Free Trade Agreement

The Agriculture section of the agreement describes the system of removing most tariffs on agricultural products traded between the two countries. It also agrees to eliminate export subsidies if the quantity of goods in question is exported to one of the two countries of the party. Section 10 of the Free Trade Agreement gives clear meaning to the term “cross-border trade in services” and provides suppliers with an open environment for business. It requires each country to insert national or treatment by the most advantaged countries to the other`s service providers and prohibits numerous restrictions on market access and transfers. He said Australia would “not hijack its values” and called on China to take the first step toward repairing relations, after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week that it was up to Australia to confront “the real cause” of the dispute. For example, Australian beef exports to China are currently taxed at almost 19%, while comparable exports from New Zealand arrive almost duty-free in the Chinese market. In the coming years, ChAFTA will counteract this advantage and offer Australia the same terms as any other country that signs a free trade agreement with China in the future. After eight years of top secret negotiations, the comprehensive regional economic partnership will be signed on Sunday, after Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Indonesia and Vietnam, have reached agreements on the $30 trillion market. Australia as a whole is heavily dependent on the primary sector and the main benefits of a free trade agreement between the two countries were seen as better access to the large U.S. market, but heavily subsidized and protected by Australian producers. In particular, the national party in the countryside and in the region is firmly committed to extending the agreement to the export of sugar. The possible provisions of the agreement did not go as far as expected and, as a result, some sugar industry lobbyists, particularly independent Bob Katter, insisted that the free trade agreement be rejected.

However, many, like Peter Beattie, then Premier of Queensland, still saw the agreement as a net benefit to Australian agriculture and supported ratification on that basis. Australian businesses, universities and health care providers have access to 14 countries as part of the largest free trade agreement ever signed, as the federal government strives to transform the new trading bloc into a separator in its divisive trade dispute with China. The Australian government did not have a majority in the Senate and therefore needed the support of the opposition Labor Party, the Greens, the Democrats or independent senators to get ratification. The government put pressure on Labor Party chairman Mark Latham to gain opposition support for the agreement (knowing that Latham, among many Labour members, saw the free trade agreement as beneficial). The issue had divided the party, particularly the left-wing group argued that labour should reject the deal. The agreement requires the legal application of digital rights management systems, but an Australian legislative commission has issued a report indicating that this part of the treaty has a “serious error”: although the agreement provides for authorized exceptions allowing the use of devices to circumvent copyright, it also prohibits access to tools used to circumvent this type of copyright. The report speaks of an “unfortunate and inexcusable error”, a “monstrous error” and even a “mistake that borders on absurdity”. The Committee firmly believes that the government must find a solution to the error before implementing this part of the treaty.

[4] Chapter 4 deals with the trade in textiles and clothing between the two countries of the party.

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