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Australia, Chile signs free trade pact

The Australian | May 27, 2008

Australia, Chile signs free trade pact

AUSTRALIA and Chile have concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement, with Australia’s mining sector being a major beneficiary.

Trade Minister Simon Crean said there will be a net benefit from the FTA to all sectors of the Australian economy, as it improves access for agricultural products, and other goods and services.

"This is a high-quality agreement that covers goods, services and investment," he said. "The mining sector will be a significant beneficiary of this because of the investment liberalisations."

Two-way trade between Australia and Chile is growing fast, rising to $856 million in 2007 from $675 million in 2006. Australia is the fourth-largest foreign investor in Chile, with around $US3 billion ($3.1 billion) of direct investment, mostly in mining, he said.

The commitments go beyond what each country has committed to in the Doha Round of World Trade Organisation negotiations, he said.

Under the FTA, planned to enter into force on January 1, 2009, following ratification in each country, all existing goods trade will be liberalised by 2015 and significant commitments on services and investment will be made upon entry into force.

Tariffs will be eliminated on 97 per cent of existing merchandise trade upon entry into force and 100 per cent of existing merchandise trade in each direction by 2015, he said.

Dow Jones Newswires

 source: The Australian