Background to the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement
On 8 December 2006, the Australian Government agreed in-principle to commence a bilateral negotiation process with Chile, with a view to developing a comprehensive FTA to strengthen and deepen the trade relationship.
In the first half of 2007, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade conducted a series of consultations with Australian industry, state and territory governments and other interested stakeholders to assess barriers to trade with Chile that could be addressed by a free trade agreement.
On 18 July 2007 Australia agreed to enter into FTA negotiations with Chile. Four negotiating rounds were held between August 2007 and April 2008 along with two intersessional meetings in March 2008 to progress the negotiations in particular areas. On 27 May 2008, the Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, and the Chilean Foreign Minister, Alejandro Foxley, concluded the negotiations.
On 30 July 2008, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith and Mr Foxley signed the Agreement in Canberra. The FTA text was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 17 June 2008. Both Parties exchanged diplomatic notes to this effect in Santiago de Chile on 4 February and agreed that the Treaty would enter into force on 6 March 2009.