China-Australia free trade agreement comes into force, to ease commodity deals

The free trade agreement between China and Australia which officially came into force on Sunday, gives competitive advantages to exporters and investors from both countries into each other’s market, Xinhua news agency said.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) enables more than 86 percent of Australia’s goods exports to China duty free, worth more than A$90 billion ($65 billion dollars).

Once the agreement is fully implemented, 96 percent of Australian goods will enter China duty free, while 100 percent of Chinese exports to Australia will enjoy zero-tariff treatment.

Iron ores and concentrates, coal, gold, education-related travel services and copper are China’s top five imports from Australia, while clothing, telecom equipment and parts, computers, furniture, toys and sporting goods are the top five exports to Australia.

Chinese enterprises and consumers will have greater access to natural resources and finished products like high-quality food. Australians will also benefit from cheaper China-made garments and electronic gadgets.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said tariffs have been cut on a range of important Australian exports including dairy, beef, lamb, wine, seafood, fruit and vegetables, processed foods, vitamins and health products.

Tariffs on coking coal (with exports worth $4.8 billion in 2014-15) have been eliminated, while the phased elimination of tariffs on non-coking coal has also started.

The trade deal was reached after decade-long talks that began in 2005. The process was greatly accelerated after Chinese President Xi paid a state visit to Australia in November 2014 and brought about the signing of the Declaration of Intent, Xinhua said.


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