Australia hails new free trade pact with ASEAN

TN News

Email Print

A regional free trade pact that has just taken effect will promote exports and build on complementarities in the trade and investment relationship between Vietnam and Australia, the Australian Embassy in Hanoi has said.

The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), effective January 1, will reduce or eliminate tariffs across a region that is home to 600 million people and a combined GDP of A$3.1 trillion (US$2.8 trillion).

“This is the largest Free Trade Agreement Australia has ever concluded and the most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement to enter into force for ASEAN,” Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Allaster Cox, said in a statement.

Under AANZFTA, Australia has agreed to systematically reduce tariffs on all tariff lines, with 100 per cent of tariffs to be eliminated by 2020. In return, tariffs on 96 percent of Australia’s current exports to ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will be eliminated by 2020.

Under the agreement, Australia will provide up to A$20 million for capacity building and technical assistance to Vietnam and developing ASEAN countries to assist in implementing the agreement, the statement said.

“Concluding the deal during a time of global economic crisis clearly demonstrates the strong commitment of Australia and the region to opening up markets,” Cox said.

“We look forward to working with Vietnam and other FTA partners to take full advantage of the FTA and to further our cooperation in support of Vietnam’s economic integration”.

AANZFTA was signed by Trade Ministers from ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand on 27 February 2009 in Thailand.

Two-way trade between Australia and Vietnam has grown at an average of 22 percent a year over the last five years, reaching US$8 billion in 2007-08.

Australia’s total exports to Vietnam rose 17 percent to US$2.3 billion in 2007-08. Vietnam was Australia’s 18th largest export market for goods, with major items including gold, copper, wheat and aluminum.

Source: Thanh Nien

More Politics News