Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement

Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Australia on the Coordination of Business Law

This Memorandum:

Strengthening Coordination

  1. The Governments of New Zealand and Australia ("the Governments", "both Governments") seek to accelerate, deepen and widen the relationship that has developed through the growth of trans-Tasman trade and investment, particularly since the commencement of the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement in 1983.
  2. Both Governments are committed to the objective of a single economic market in which there is no significant discrimination in the Australian and New Zealand markets arising from differences in the policies and regulations of both countries.
  3. Both Governments recognise that net trans-Tasman benefits associated with deeper regulatory integration will:
    • improve the environment for doing business on both sides of the Tasman;
    • foster international competitiveness,
    • increase national productivity, and
    • maintain and drive job creation.
  4. Both Governments recognise the trend towards increasing international convergence of financial market and business regulation and the need to comply with international standards. Both Governments recognise the benefit of coordination to influence evolving international regulatory standards and regimes.
  5. To these ends, both Governments have expressed their commitment to encourage more cooperation between Australian and New Zealand regulators and between the officials responsible for the development of policy in each country to ensure opportunities for deeper business integration and commercial benefits are maximised.
  6. Both Governments recognise the importance of maintaining alignment in areas where coordination has already occurred.

Adoption of an outcomes approach

  1. This Memorandum recognises the Single Economic Market Outcomes Framework endorsed by Prime Ministers in their Joint Statement of Intent on 20 August 2009. It builds on existing coordination initiatives already underway on business law coordination.

Principles

  1. Governments have identified the following principles to guide coordination efforts:
    1. Persons in Australia or New Zealand should not have to engage in the same process or provide the same information twice;
    2. Measures should deliver substantively the same regulatory outcomes in both countries in the most efficient manner;
    3. Regulated occupations should be able to operate seamlessly between each country;
    4. Both Governments should seek to achieve economies of scale and scope in regulatory design and implementation;
    5. Products and services supplied in one jurisdiction should be able to be supplied in the other;
    6. The two countries should seek to strengthen joint capability to influence international policy design; and
    7. Outcomes should seek to optimise net Trans-Tasman benefit.
  2. In giving effect to these principles consideration will be given to:
    1. The desirability of ensuring that a firm will only have to comply with one set of rules and will have certainty as to the application of those rules and the regulator (i.e. Australian or New Zealand) with which it needs to deal; and
    2. Whether an issue should be regulated solely through domestic rules or whether a bilateral, or multilateral solution would be more appropriate.

Work Programme

  1. Annex I of this Memorandum sets out the Work Programme on the mutually determined Outcomes and other coordination initiatives that Governments are seeking to achieve and that they have determined jointly should be the focus of the business law co-ordination programme.
  2. Governments may determine jointly any further outcomes to be added to, varied, or removed from the Work Programme.
  3. Both Governments recognise that there may be a range of options for achieving the coordination goals. These need not necessarily involve harmonisation of law or the creation of joint institutions.

Consultation

  1. Each Government will keep the other Government informed of proposed reforms in the area of business law and will give the other the opportunity to be involved in the other's reform process at an early stage. Both Governments recognise that early consultation is particularly important where a policy proposal has extra-territorial application that impacts on the other country or would have the potential to result in the removal of any right or benefit that the other country currently enjoys.
  2. In addition to the items specified in the Annex I Work Programme, when either Government considers that a difference between their respective business laws or regulatory practices gives rise to an impediment to the development of the trans-Tasman relationship, the two Governments will consult with a view to resolving the impediment, whether or not the area of law is already included in the work programme and regardless of the priority accorded to the matter at the time.

Ministerial Responsibility

  1. The Minister of Commerce of New Zealand and the Minister for Financial Services, Corporate Law and Superannuation of the Commonwealth of Australia will have responsibility on behalf of their respective Governments for the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.

Institutional Arrangements

  1. Both Governments recognise the role of the Trans-Tasman Outcomes Implementation Group formed under the Prime Ministers' Joint Statement of Intent. The Joint Statement of Intent provided that the implementation group will carry the agenda forward.

Report back to Ministers

  1. Officials will report six monthly to their respective Ministers responsible for the Memorandum on progress of the work highlighted for action in the Annex I Work Programme.

Review of the Memorandum of Understanding

  1. The Governments will review this Memorandum of Understanding five years from the date of its signature, and every five years following that date.

Commencement and implementation

  1. This Memorandum of Understanding will come into effect on the date of its signature.

Annex

Work Programme for Coordination of Business Law

Short term: by end 2011

Medium term: by end 2014

Short term

Medium term