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Business Envoy March 2020 Banner image

Our businesses benefit from a growing trade network

Australia’s expanding network of free trade agreements provides more goods and services export opportunities for our nation’s businesses.

One of the more recent additions to this network is the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

This regional trade agreement is opening up opportunities for Australian businesses in six other countries, including Canada and Mexico. The possibility of new members joining in the future would amplify the agreement’s benefits.

Australia’s free trade agreements with Hong Kong and Peru that entered into force in early 2020 are the latest additions to the network.

The agreement with Hong Kong locks in tariffs on goods exports at zero. It also secures guaranteed and improved access for a range of Australian service suppliers in its growing international services market.

The agreement with Peru provides new export opportunities for a range of Australian goods and services exporters in one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies.

The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) will become the next addition to the network. 

Australia has ratified IA-CEPA and it will enter into force 60 days after Indonesia completes its ratification procedures. This agreement will help Australian exporters capitalise on Indonesia’s booming economy and rapidly growing middle class.

The Australian Government is working hard to expand the network further and open up new export and investment opportunities, including by negotiating an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union, a bloc of 27 countries and a market of around 450 million people.  

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is another example of work in this area. The Partnership will be a regional free trade agreement involving Australia and nine of our top 15 trading partners that will create a single economic framework. Australia and other Partnership countries have agreed to sign this agreement later in 2020.

Where possible, we also review in-force free trade agreements to upgrade and deepen the benefits businesses gain from them.

One example is the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), which entered into force in January 2010 for Australia and eight other countries (Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia joined in 2011-12). Negotiations to upgrade AANZFTA will begin this year.

The Government is also looking forward to starting negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, as soon as the UK is in a position to do so.

This expanding and deepening network is not just for big business, nor only for those already exporting. It is opening up an increasing array of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, including those new to exporting.

The Government is committed to promoting increased business awareness and use of the network.

A practical example of this commitment is the FTA Portal, a free website that contains easy-to-access information about specific free trade agreement opportunities available to businesses.

For more information on Australia’s network of free trade agreements and the FTA Portal, visit: fta.gov.au and ftaportal.dfat.gov.au.

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