Australia signs free trade agreement with China

The Australian and Chinese governments announced that they have officially signed a bilateral free trade agreement on June 17, 2015. The deal is designed to open markets, develop free trade and strengthen investment between both countries. With total two-way trade exceeding AU$150bn in 2014 the new agreement is expected to have enormous benefits for businesses when importing or exporting from China

Both governments have stated a desire to bring the agreement into force as soon as possible and suggest that the agreement could be put into practice within three to six months once legislation has been ratified by both governments.

The majority of goods imported in Australia will be duty free once the treaty is ratified, except for textiles, footwear and clothing items which will stay at the current rate of 5% and phased down every year thereafter until being duty free around 2020.

The agreement will mean 85% of all Australian exports will enter China tariff-free, rising to 95% on full implementation.

The agricultural and food sector will see the most benefit with all tariffs on dairy products to be phased out over 11 years, tariffs on wines to be removed over four years, tariffs on beef gone within nine years and the removal of tariffs across a range of processed foods including fruit juice and honey.