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Australia signs free trade deal with Chile

FarmOnline (Australia) | 30 July 2008

Australia signs free trade deal with Chile

The collapse of the World Trade Organisation talks has prompted forecasts of a proliferation of bi-lateral free trade deals, such as that signed by Australia and Chile today.

Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, and and Chile’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Alejandro Foxley, have today signed the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement at Parliament House in Canberra.

"This free trade agreement, the first to be concluded by the new Australian Government, is the most comprehensive free trade agreement Australia has negotiated," Mr Smith said.

"Upon entry into force, the Agreement will eliminate 97pc of tariffs on existing merchandise trade and 100pc of tariffs on existing merchandise trade by 2015."

Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean, who has been in Geneva at the WTO Ministerial meeting, said the FTA is a "high-quality agreement where commitments go beyond" what each country had committed at the WTO.

Two-way trade between Australia and Chile is currently valued at more than $850 million a year and the stock of Australian investment in Chile currently exceeds $US3 billion.

The Australia-Chile FTA will provide Australian agriculture - in particular dairy, meat, ovine and bovine genetics, sugar, production technologies, and wine - with better market access to the fast-growing Chilean economy.

The deal includes:
- tariffs on around 92pc of lines covering about 97pc of trade in each direction will go down to zero on the FTA’s entry into force;
- all goods are covered, including sugar; and
- immediate market access gains for exporters and parity with suppliers from other countries with preferential access.

 source: FarmOnline