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Key outcomes

Overview

Australia now has the opportunity to more closely integrate
its economy with the United States through increased trade and
investment links.

Agriculture

  • Two thirds of all agricultural tariffs - including in
    important commodities such as lamb, sheep meat and
    horticultural products, were eliminated immediately
    • a further 9 per cent of tariffs were cut to zero in 2008.
  • AUSFTA provides greater access to the US market for two of Australia's key agricultural export industries, beef and dairy.
  • Australia's quarantine and food safety regimes, which
    ensure our health and our environment are protected, are not
    affected by the Agreement.

Manufacturing

  • Duties on more than 97 per cent of US non-agricultural
    tariff lines (excluding textiles and clothing) became duty
    free from day one of the Agreement.
  • Tariffs on textiles, some footwear and a handful of other
    items will be phased out, with all trade in goods free of
    duty by 2015.
  • A mechanism to address non-tariff barriers was
    established.

Services

  • Access to US markets has been locked in for Australian
    service suppliers such as providers of professional,
    business, education, environmental, financial and transport
    services
  • A framework to promote mutual recognition of professional
    services has been developed - which has led to Australian
    lawyers being allowed to provide services in Australian law
    in Delaware and Australian engineers gaining a temporary
    practise right in Texas.

Financial services

  • Australia's financial sector will reap the benefits
    associated with financing the increased trade in goods and
    services flowing from the Agreement.
  • Future access for Australian financial services providers
    to the world's largest financial market is assured through
    the Agreement guaranteeing that any future US liberalisation
    in this sector cannot be reversed.
  • Australia and the US agreed to jointly consider a number
    of issues regarding the closer integration of our financial
    sectors.

Government procurement

  • The US federal government procurement market, worth at
    least US$535 billion annually (2011), and that of 31 state
    governments are now open to Australia.
  • Australia has a waiver from many US programs favouring US
    firms and products.
  • Australian preferences for small businesses and
    indigenous people remain in place.

Intellectual property

  • Australia's IP laws will be substantially harmonised with
    the world's largest intellectual property market, and a
    global leader in innovation and creative products.
  • Australia's international reputation as one of the
    world's leading countries in protecting and enforcing
    intellectual property rights has been reinforced.
  • Standards of intellectual property protection are beyond
    those provided by multilateral agreements such as the WTO
    TRIPS agreement and WIPO Treaties.

Investment

  • The Agreement provides a strong framework to promote high
    levels of two-way investment between Australia and the
    US.
  • There is no investor-state dispute settlement provision
    in the Agreement.
  • The Agreement preserves Australia's foreign investment
    policy, but with a includes changes that maintain our ability
    to screen all investment of major significance.

Health

  • Access by Australians to affordable medicines under the
    PBS has been maintained under the AUSFTA.
  • The Agreement reinforces Australia's existing framework
    for intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals.

Audio-visual

  • The Agreement protects our right to ensure local content
    on Australian media, and retains the capacity to regulate new
    and emerging media, including digital and interactive
    TV.
  • AUSFTA ensures that there can be Australian voices and
    stories on audiovisual and broadcasting services, now and in
    the future.

Automotive

  • Australia and the United States agreed to eliminate
    customs duties on almost all automotive products from the day
    the agreement enters into force.
  • The 2.5 per cent duty on passenger motor vehicles, the 25
    per cent tariff on light commercial vehicles and tariffs on
    auto parts and accessories exports were immediately
    eliminated.
  • Australian duties on passenger motor vehicles will be
    phased out, to zero in 2010.

Competition

  • The Agreement ensures that Australia and the United
    States continue to cooperate on competition law and
    policy.
  • Businesses and individuals are to be treated fairly in
    enforcing competition law.
  • Consumer protection agencies will work together in
    combating illegal activity.
  • Consumers and investors defrauded or deceived now have
    greater redress.

Telecommunications

  • The Agreement ensures the maintenance of pro-competitive
    regulatory frameworks for Australian and US companies, high
    standards of transparency and WTO-plus rules on major
    suppliers.
  • AUSFTA provides a new avenue for consultations with the
    United States on market access and embraces a market-based
    regulatory approach .

E-commerce

  • AUSFTA recognises the importance of there being no
    barriers to trade conducted electronically.
  • Australia is still be able to regulate for public policy
    purposes.
  • Trade and investment is encouraged by facilitating
    electronic commerce.

Rules of origin

  • Simple and objective tests apply to rules of origin for
    manufactured products, which must be substantially
    transformed in either Australia or the United States before
    they can benefit from the Agreement.
  • The Agreement applies the change of tariff classification
    approach, with a straightforward method of claiming origin
    that does not require obtaining a certificate of origin.

Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures

  • The integrity of Australia's quarantine regime and our
    right to protect animal, plant, and human health and life are
    preserved.
  • Decisions about market access on quarantine or food
    safety grounds will continue to be made on the basis of
    science.
  • A framework for discussions on specific products has been
    established.

Technical Regulations and Standards

  • Australian exporters now have greater opportunities to
    understand and meet US requirements dealing with technical
    regulations and standards.
  • A framework for exporters to work with government in
    tackling barriers has been established.

Environment and labour

  • The Parties agreed not to fail to enforce their own
    environmental and labour laws in a manner affecting trade
    between the Parties.
  • Both Parties retain the right to establish their own
    domestic environmental and labour standards, and to adapt or
    modify their own laws.
Last Updated: 31 December 2012
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