ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Area

The landmark twelve countries Agreement establishing the ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA Agreement) was signed on 27 February 2009 at Thailand. 

The signing comes exactly six months after the conclusion of negotiations on 28 August 2008. 

The AANZFTA Agreement is the first region-to-region free trade agreement for both ASEAN and, Australia and New Zealand. It is ASEAN fourth free trade agreement with dialogue partners (after China, Korea and Japan) and it is the first that Australia and New Zealand have jointly negotiated with other countries.  

Through the AANZFTA Agreement, ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand effectively create a free trade area of over 600 million people with a combined GDP which is expected to have reached US$ 2.7 trillion, according to the IMF forecast for 2008. Intra-regional (ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand) trade has been growing an average of about 16 per cent per annum since the start of the FTA negotiations in 2005. 

Taken together, Australia and New Zealand comprise ASEAN sixth largest trading partner. ASEAN as a group is the second and the third largest trading partner of Australia and New Zealand, respectively. 

The AANZFTA Agreement will enter into force sixty (60) days after Australia and New Zealand, and at least four (4) ASEAN Member States have notified completion of their ratification processes. 

Get Ready to Take Advantage of the Opportunities under AANZFTA 

Malaysian companies should get prepared for the AANZFTA, which is expected to take effect from early next year. Companies should be active and creative in exploring the new opportunities the region-wide agreement would bring. 

The AANZFTA Agreement opens a plethora of new opportunities for businesses located in the region. In addition to new market access, the Agreement provides greater transparency and certainty for companies doing business in the region. The deal would benefit Malaysian companies, especially exporters of consumer products including food, textile, footwear and furniture. The pact would reduce or lift most tariffs when it comes into force. 

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