Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement
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Australia's bilateral trade and economic relationship with New Zealand is one of the broadest and most diverse in the world. The foundation of this relationship is the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA, or the CER Agreement).
The CER Agreement is one of the most comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements in existence. It covers substantially all trans-Tasman trade in goods, including agricultural products, and was the first to include free trade in services.
The Agreement's central provision is the creation of a World Trade Organization (WTO)-consistent Free Trade Area encompassing Australia and New Zealand.
Key interests and benefits
Among other things, ANZCERTA:
- prohibits all tariffs and quantitative import or export restrictions on trade in goods originating in the Free Trade Area under ANZCERTA
- minimises market distortions in trade in goods, including through domestic industry assistance and export subsidies and incentives
- harmonises Trans-Tasman food standards through the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) Agreement of 1995, which means lower compliance costs for industry, fewer regulatory barriers, and more consumer choice
- provides for the mutual recognition of goods and occupations, removing technical barriers to trade and impediments to the movement of skilled personnel between jurisdictions, without the need for complete harmonisation of standards and professional qualifications
- reduces investment costs, through the 2013 Protocol on Investment, under which investors in both countries benefit from lower compliance costs, higher screening thresholds and greater legal certainty when investing in their Trans-Tasman neighbour. Two-way investment between Australia and New Zealand is worth more than $194 billion (2019).
ANZCERTA–its genesis and the present
The first trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand dates back to 1922, and it essentially stated that each party would trade with the other. This was followed by the Australia New Zealand Trade Agreement in 1933, under which the two countries gave each other preferences and some special rates of duty. A partial free trade treaty, the New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), entered into force in 1966, leading to the removal of tariffs and quantitative restrictions on 80 per cent of trans-Tasman trade by the late-1970s. Because NAFTA was not structured to address the changing international economic environment and lacked an effective mechanism for removing remaining restrictions, Australia and New Zealand agreed to develop a more open bilateral trading system.
The Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) was signed on 28 March 1983 and has become the cornerstone of the trade and economic relationship. The WTO recognises it as being among the world's most comprehensive, effective and multilaterally compatible free trade agreements, covering substantially all trans-Tasman trade in goods, including agricultural products, and services.
The objectives of ANZCERTA are to:
- strengthen the broader relationship between Australia and New Zealand;
- develop closer economic relations through a mutually beneficial expansion of free trade between New Zealand and Australia;
- eliminate barriers to trade between Australia and New Zealand in a gradual and progressive manner under an agreed timetable and with a minimum of disruption
- develop trade between New Zealand and Australia under conditions of fair competition.
Since 1 July 1990, all goods meeting ANZCERTA Rules of Origin criteria can be traded across the Tasman free of duty and quantitative import restrictions.
The Trade in Services Protocol brought services into ANZCERTA from January 1989 allowing most services to be traded free of restriction across the Tasman with limited exclusions which were last reviewed 2014.
Since CER was signed, the composition of trade between Australia and New Zealand has changed dramatically, reflecting changes in technology, competitiveness, domestic industry structure, trade liberalisation and consumer demand.
ANZCERTA has underpinned a strong growth in trade across the Tasman. In 2019-20 total trade (goods and services) was valued at $A28.6 billion. New Zealand is currently Australia's ninth largest trading partner.
ANZCERTA forms the foundation of a broader economic and trade relationship with New Zealand. It is supplemented by more than 80 government-to-government bilateral treaties, protocols and other arrangements - covering trade and the movement of people, aviation, business law coordination, mutual recognition of goods and professions, taxation, health care, social security, food standards and government procurement.
With most of the trade goals met, Ministers agreed in 2009 that the Closer Economic Relations (CER) work program should focus on "third generation" trade facilitation issues, aimed at fostering closer economic integration through regulatory harmonisation and the creation of a more favourable climate for trans-Tasman business collaboration. This gave rise to the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda, designed to enable business, consumers and investors to conduct operations across the Tasman in a seamless regulatory environment.
The SEM agenda aimed to build on ANZCERTA by identifying innovative, low-cost actions to reduce discrimination and costs arising from different, conflicting or duplicate regulations or institutions in either country. The agenda was endorsed at the 2016 Australia New Zealand Leaders Meeting (ANZLM).
The SEM agenda has brought significant economic benefits to both countries by lowering business costs and increasing the ease with which both businesses and people can operate across the Tasman. Some examples include:
- the Australia New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement (ANZRICA, ratified in November 2017), which includes a wide array of cooperative initiatives across our science, research and innovation systems
- the Trans-Tasman Electronic Invoicing Arrangement (signed October 2018), which creates and maintains a common Australia and New Zealand e‑invoicing approach in order to improve productivity and reduce the costs of doing business for both government and industry
- mutual recognition between the Australian Trusted Trader program and the New Zealand Secure Exports Scheme (July 2016), to provide reciprocal trade facilitation benefits to member businesses.
2023 marks the 40th anniversary of CER and Australia and New Zealand are working together to mark the occasion and celebrate the successes of this unique trade agreement. Both governments are working to ensure that CER continues to adapt to the modern needs of business and individuals, reflecting the strength and vitality of the trans-Tasman relationship.
New Zealand is also a party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). To compare market access outcomes under these agreements, please visit the FTA Portal.
Here you can locate the full text of the Australia - New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement and many other associated official documents.
See the FTA Portal for tariff details on specific products under ANZCERTA
Guide to the CER
Trade in goods
- Customs Legislation Amendments (New Zealand Rules of Origin) Act (2006)
- The CER Agreement 1983
- Annexes A- F and attachments (no longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Fruit Juice Products (no longer operative)
- Protocol on Acceleration of Free Trade in Goods (1988) (Fully implemented on 1 July 1990)
- Exchange of Letters on Tariffs and Quantitative Import Restrictions (1988)
- Mutual Determination on Quantitative Export Restrictions (1988) (Fully implemented on I July 1990)
- Exchange of Letters on Trans Tasman Trade in Dairy Products (1988) (No longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Annex F (1992)
- Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures
- Exchange of Letters and Joint Understanding of Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures (1988)
- 1988 CER Review Joint Understanding: Harmonisation of Customs Policies and Procedures (Including attachments)
- Protocol and Agreed Minutes on Harmonisation of Quarantine Administrative Procedures (1988)
- Amendments to Article 3 - Rules of Origin (1992 Review of CER)
- Exchange of Letters on Rules of Origin (no longer operative)
- Exchange of Letters on Direct Shipment Rule (1992)
- Protocol on Customs Procedures for Trans Tasman Textile, Clothing and Footwear Rules of Origin Enquiries (1995)
- Rules Governing Entitlement to Preferential Rates of Duty for Trans-Tasman Trade (1995)
Trade in services
- Protocol on Trade in Services to the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations -Trade Agreement Canberra, 18 August 1988 [PDF 9 KB]
- Annex: Services inscribed by New Zealand and Australia as of 1988 [PDF 8 KB]
- 1992 Review (Exchange of Letters) [PDF 4 KB]
- Annex as of 1992 [PDF 12 KB]
- 1995 Review (Exchange of Letters) [PDF 19 KB]
- Annex as at 9 March 1999
- Annex to the Protocol on Trade in Services 2015
Protocol on investment
- Protocol on Investment to the Australia - New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement  ATS 10 | Treaty Text
- Side letter concerning New Zealand's reservation with respect to water [PDF 16 KB] | [DOC 33 KB]
- Side letter concerning the New Zealand MFN reservation [PDF 16 KB] | [DOC 31 KB]
- Side letter concerning clarification of Australian non-conforming measures at regional level of government [PDF 17 KB] | [DOC 33 KB]
- Annex I: Schedule of Australia [PDF 118 KB] | [DOC 149 KB]
- Annex I: Schedule of New Zealand [PDF 129 KB] | [DOC 199 KB]
The Regulatory Environment for Business
- Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Australia on the Coordination of Business Law (2010)
- Trans-Tasman Memorandum of Understanding on Coordination of Business Law [PDF external] (signed 22 February 2006)
- Australia's Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Trans-Tasman Banking Supervision) Act
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) Co-operation Protocol
- Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Barriers to Trade (1988) [PDF 9 KB]
- Exchange of Letters Amending the Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Barriers to Trade (1992) [PDF 44 KB]
- Exchange of Letters on Third Country Dumping (1992) [PDF 45 KB]
Government Assistance and Purchasing
- Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1988) [PDF 42 KB]
- Exchange of Letters amending the Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1989) [PDF 42 KB]
- Exchange of Letters on the Agreed Minute on Industry Assistance (1992) [PDF 54 KB]
- Government Procurement Agreement (September 2013)
- Agreed Minute on State Government Purchasing Preferences (1988) (New Zealand is now a party to the Commonwealth/State Government Procurement Agreement) [PDF]
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué 2015, 27 February 2015
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 27 November 2013
- CER Ministerial Meeting: Joint Statement, 15 November 2012
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 23 June 2010
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 9 August 2009
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 15 August 2008
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 31 July 2007
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 20 September 2006
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 11 December 2004
- CER Ministerial Meeting Communiqué, 28 August 2003