Deepening economic ties with our ASEAN partners

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Tim Watts MP, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing

The Australian Government is proud to announce the upgrading of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).

Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts signed the Second Protocol to Amend the Agreement, in the margins of the 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers – Closer Economic Relations Consultation meeting today in Semarang, Indonesia.

This important development modernises AANZFTA to ensure it continues to deliver benefits for businesses, workers and consumers in Australia and our region.

Under the upgrade, AANZFTA will include additional commitments on services and investment that will benefit Australian exporters and investors. It will also strengthen supply chain resilience and digital technology adoption.

The agreement will also include key commitments on sustainable and inclusive trade, facilitating enhanced cooperation on environmental protection, green economy, labour issues, and women’s economic empowerment.

Since it first entered into force in 2010, AANZFTA has been the central pillar of Australia’s trade and investment relationship with ASEAN members.

With of a population over 660 million, ASEAN is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Its GDP has grown by 44 per cent since 2010 when AANZFTA entered into force (current GDP is USD3.6 trillion), and this growth is expected to continue over the next decade plus.

Collectively, trade with ASEAN members accounts for more than 14.3 per cent of Australia’s overall trade. The region is also a significant consumer of Australia’s energy, agricultural products, minerals and education.

The next step involves AANZFTA members completing their respective domestic procedures to ratify the upgrade, hopefully to enable entry into force in 2024. 

For Australia, this means following the treaty-making process, which involves the tabling of the AANZFTA upgrade in both Houses of Parliament for consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).  Interested parties will have an opportunity to make written submissions as part of the JSCOT review.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell:

“The AANZFTA upgrade will create new commercial opportunities for Australians, for our exporters and investors to work hand-in-hand with businesses in Southeast Asia. This will cement Australia as a partner of choice in an open and inclusive region.”

“The Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 being developed by the Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Mr Nicholas Moore AO, will explore opportunities to better harness the potential to significantly increase two-way trade and investment between Australia and the region.”

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tim Watts MP:

“The upgrade of this agreement highlights Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN’s shared commitment to sustainable and inclusive trade.”

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres:

“An upgraded AANZFTA promises new opportunities for Australian businesses in a complex international trading environment and challenging global economic outlook.”

Media enquiries

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