Negotiations on this free trade agreement between the 10 ASEAN governments and those of Australia and New Zealand were concluded in Singapore in August 2008. The agreement was subsequently signed in February 2009 and came into force on 1 January 2010.
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) envisions a regional common market by 2015, and marks the first time that Australia and New Zealand have been involved jointly in negotiating an FTA with third countries. It was also the first time ASEAN embarked on comprehensive FTA negotiations covering all sectors, including goods, services, investment and intellectual property, simultaneously.
The Textile Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia opposed the deal because of the impact of further trade liberalization on these manufacturing sectors and workers in Australia, and human rights concerns regarding Burma. Both the Green Party of New Zealand and human rights activists raised concerns about agreements with some ASEAN governments because of their human rights records. In the ASEAN countries, numerous activist groups also protested the rush into this FTA, especially during a global economic crisis that is hitting local workers hard.
last update: May 2012
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