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Australia concludes Southeast Asia trade deal.

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28 August 2008

Australia concludes Southeast Asia trade deal

Minister for Trade Simon Crean today announced that Australia has concluded negotiations for the region-wide ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

Australia stands to gain considerably from this agreement across a many sectors. We've locked in goods market access gains in a wide range of sectors including agriculture and industrial products.

We've also secured a good outcome on services, which will create more certainty for exporters in sectors such as engineering, education and the financial sector.

The agreement includes provisions providing greater certainty and transparency for Australian investors.

We have achieved significant tariff reductions and are working to secure further improvements with two countries.

In particular, we are also seeking to strengthen the outcome for our automotive industry with Indonesia and Malaysia.

Importantly, we've got a commitment from our negotiating partners to build on these outcomes into the future.

AANZFTA seeks to capitalise on new trade and economic opportunities that will arise from the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community.

To put this FTA in perspective it is the most comprehensive trade agreement that ASEAN has ever negotiated.

In terms of coverage, it's the largest FTA Australia has ever negotiated - covering 16 per cent of Australia's trade in goods and services, worth $71 billion.

This is a big market of 570 million people with a combined GDP of US$1 trillion. AANZFTA will strengthen our trade and investment ties with ASEAN.

There is considerable potential to create new trade and investment opportunities not provided through bilateral FTAs.

Today's agreement sends a positive signal of the economic dynamism of our region and provides a building block for regional integration.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555