The fifth meeting of the FTA Joint Committee

17-21 June 2013, Cairns, Australia

The Fifth Meeting of the FTA Joint Committee was held in Cairns, Australia, from 17-21 June 2013. Representatives from the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia and New Zealand, and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the Meeting, which was co-Chaired by:

  1. Mr. Michael Mugliston, Special Negotiator, Free Trade Agreement Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for Australia;
  2. Mr. Greg Andrews, Head of FTA Implementation Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for New Zealand; and
  3. Mr. Adnan Jaafar, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam, on behalf of ASEAN Member States.

Summary of main outcomes

1. Implementation of AANZFTA

NOTED the progress in the implementation of the AANZFTA Agreement and ENCOURAGED the Parties to maintain the momentum, including advancing the Agreement's built-in agendas.

2. Work Programme of the FTA Joint Committee and Subsidiary Bodies

CONSIDERED the reports of subsidiary bodies under the FTA Joint Committee, namely: (i) Committee on Trade in Goods; (ii) Committee on Investment; (iii) Committee on Trade in Services; (iv) Committee on Intellectual Property (IP); and (v) Ad Hoc Economic Cooperation Budget Subcommittee; as well as the outcomes of the Informal Meeting of Competition Experts held in the sidelines of the FTA Joint Committee Meeting.

With the aim of ensuring AANZFTA continues to deliver commercial benefits, including sustaining business confidence and increasing utilization of the Agreement, WELCOMED the finalization of the First Protocol to Amend the AANZFTA and the consolidated product specific rules (PSRs) in HS 2012; and AGREED to expeditiously complete the transposition of the tariff schedules of all Parties from Harmonized System (HS) 2007 to HS 2012.

NOTED the initiatives under the review of Non-Tariff Measures, including the proposal to conduct business surveys to identify practical solutions to address barriers affecting product supply chains.

NOTED the outcomes of the Workshop on Non-Mode 3 Investment in Services and the useful exchange of views on cross-cutting issues at a joint session among investment and services officials and ENCOURAGED both the Committee on Trade in Services and Committee on Investment to continue engagement on this aspect of the Agreement's built-in agenda.

AGREED to undertake preparatory work to arrive at a common and shared understanding of issues in relation to the review of commitments under the Services chapter of the Agreement.

WELCOMED the Philippines and New Zealand's accession to the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks (which entered into force on 25 July and 10 December 2012, respectively) as well as the establishment of Brunei Darussalam's Intellectual Property Office to streamline intellectual property administration in the country.

AGREED-IN-PRINCIPLE to establish the AANZFTA Competition Committee subject to the endorsement of ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand Trade and Economic Ministers at the AEM-CER Consultations in August 2013 and NOTED the suggestion for the Competition Committee to meet back-to-back with the ASEAN Experts Group on Competition in November 2013, as well as the next FTA Joint Committee Meeting to provide a further opportunity for engagement between trade and competition experts.

3. Progress in Economic Cooperation

CONSIDERED recommendations contained in the Independent Progress Report (IPR) of the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP). The program, supported by Australia and New Zealand, is generating tangible outcomes, especially in terms of the capacity-building initiatives undertaken in the areas of intellectual property, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), standards as well as in services and investment; and is contributing to other ASEAN priorities such as the ASEAN Economic Community as well as national reform agendas (e.g., OECD investment policy reviews).

AGREED to strengthen engagement with the broader community, including more effectively communicating the outcomes of AECSP activities to all stakeholders – public and private.

SUPPORTED the recommendation contained in the IPR to extend the AECSP to 31 December 2015 with no change in budget.

REVIEWED progress in implementing economic cooperation activities and AGREED to consider useful projects for future implementation.

NOTED the good progress in intellectual property activities, particularly, relating to patent examination, accession to Madrid Protocol, and intellectual property education and awareness, which are expected to have long-term benefits across the region.

4. Outreach and other Activities

NOTED the outcomes of the 3rd ASEAN-CER Integration Partnership Forum (IPF), held on 18 June 2013 in Cairns, Australia, which was a useful sharing of Australian and New Zealand experience on cooperation on competition policy. Presentations and background papers from the event are available online at http://www.mfat.govt.nz/integrationPF.

WELCOMED the conduct of an AANZFTA Business Advocacy and Outreach Seminar on 12 September 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, organized by the Australian Consulate- General and supported by the Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the ASEAN Secretariat.