Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and ASEAN leaders will participate in a signing ceremony on 22 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to sign the protocol amending the framework agreement on global economic cooperation between China and ASEAN. [Xinhua] The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) officially entered into force on December 20, 2015. Once fully implemented, 96% of Australian products will arrive in China duty-free, while 100% of Chinese exports to Australia will be processed duty-free. ChAFTA enters into a historic trifecta of trade agreements with our three main export markets and accounts for more than 55% of our total exports of goods and services. Together, these agreements will strengthen our important trade and investment relationships in the region, support the reform process and foster greater prosperity. China is Australia`s largest trading partner, with a two-way goods and services flow of more than $135 billion in 2014. China also concluded a free trade agreement with New Zealand in 2009, which will be phased in over a 10-year period for its products. The free trade agreement will eliminate all tariffs on Chinese exports to New Zealand by 2016 and eliminate 96% of Tariffs on New Zealand exports to China by 2019. The agreement will also facilitate reciprocal investment and trade in services. The deal has been very beneficial for kiwis like Fonterra. New Zealand`s fishing industry has also benefited. Fifteen nations in the Asia-Pacific region have concluded the world`s largest free trade agreement, which they hope will accelerate the recovery of their economies devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Free trade agreements are still being negotiated with Australia, which have been dragging on for several years due to concerns from Australia`s agricultural industry, but which can be concluded in 2014. Norway also negotiates and is a member of EFTA with Iceland and Switzerland. The Norway-China free trade agreement has been under negotiation since 2008, but, as in Australia, there is hope that it can be ratified before the end of the year. China is also negotiating the free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union of six Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All six are oil exporters and are an important bloc for China. President Xi was directly involved in these negotiations and insisted that they be resolved as soon as possible. China and New Zealand formally began free trade negotiations in December 2004 and concluded negotiations in December 2007 after 15 rounds of negotiations. For some trade experts, this new agreement shows that the rest of the world will not wait for the United States. The European Union has also conducted trade negotiations at an aggressive pace. While other countries are signing new agreements, U.S.
exporters may gradually lose ground. Once the agreement is fully implemented, 95% of Australia`s exports to China will be tariff-free. These include many agricultural products, including beef and dairy products. In addition, market access for the Australian services sector will be liberalised and investment by Chinese companies of less than AUD 1,078 million will not be subject to FIRB approval. In addition, an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism will be put in place as part of the contract.  The conflict escalated into a trade dispute that affected a dozen Australian industries, threatening billions of dollars worth of agricultural, wood and resource exports to China.