bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

Australia

In the last two years the Australian Government has finalised bilateral trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan, which are now in force. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries has been agreed, but is being reviewed by a Parliamentary committees before Parliament votes on the implementing legislation. The TPP will not come into force until six of the 12 countries including the US and Japan pass the implementing legislation, which is expected to take two years.

The current conservative Coalition government has agreed to include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Korea and China bilateral FTAs as well as the TPP. ISDS allows foreign companies to bypass national courts and sue governments for compensation if they can argue that a change in law or policy harms their investment. The previous Labor government had a policy against ISDS, and even a previous Coalition government did not include ISDS in the Australia-US free trade agreement in 2004.

There is widespread opposition in the Australian community to the inclusion of ISDS in the TPP. The TPP is also controversial because it extends monopoly rights on expensive life-saving biologic medicines, which will mean more years of very high prices before cheaper versions become available. There are also grave concerns about its impacts on food labelling standards and expanded access for temporary workers without additional protection of workers’ rights. A recent World Bank study found that Australia was only likely to gain almost no economic benefit from the deal.

Australia is currently involved in multilateral negotiations towards the PACER-plus agreement with New Zealand and 14 Pacific Island countries, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). It is also negotiating bilateral trade agreements with India and Indonesia and will begin talks with Hong Kong and Taiwan later this year and the EU next year.

Contributed by AFTINET

last update: May 2016


Australia seeks to further boost trade & ties with India to cut dependence on China
Australia’s escalating tensions with Beijing have shown up its reliance on China trade and propelled a push to increase links with Asia’s other giant economy, India.
Free trade agreements define the way our agricultural exporters do business
Australia’s agricultural export performance over the past 15 years has been supported by the proliferation of free trade agreements.
Australian government to review its Bilateral Investment Treaties
The Australian Federal Government has announced it is reviewing the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) to which Australia is a party.
PNG-Aust sign strategic economic partnership
The governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia signed the Papua New Guinea-Australia comprehensive strategic and economic partnership (CSEP).
Singapore and Australia sign digital economy pact to boost cross-border business activities
Australia and Singapore have signed a digital economy agreement to further enhance digital trade opportunities for businesses and consumers in both nations.
Calls for Australia to axe free trade deal with Hong Kong amid China crackdown
The Federal Government is facing calls to axe its free trade deal with Hong Kong after suspending Australia’s extradition agreement with the city.
’New economic chapter’ as Indonesia free-trade agreement begins
Australia’s new free-trade agreement with Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country, officially began on Sunday.
Survival clause under Aus-Indo bit will not survive the implementation of IA-CEPA
On 5 February 2020, Australia and Indonesia signed an exchange of letters agreeing to the termination of the Aus-Indo BIT and its sunset clause.
Trade officials to discuss Australia-UK free trade deal within weeks
Australia is beginning to hold formal talks with the UK over its first post-Brexit free trade agreement.
The Peru-Australia free trade agreement: Australia’s gateway into Latin America
PAFTA removes barriers to trade in goods between Australia and Peru across various industries and key barriers to services trade.