During the 22 to 26 March visit to Australia of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, and Chinese Commerce Minister, Zhong Shan, signed a Declaration of Intent regarding Review of Elements of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
The Declaration announcing the commencement of reviews of services and investment commitments under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), as well as a review of the operation of the Investment Facilitation Arrangement (IFA) MOU concluded alongside the Agreement.
ChAFTA delivered China's best-ever services commitments, including the provision of new or significantly improved market access not included in any of China's previous FTAs (other than its agreements with Hong Kong and Macau). Beneficiaries include Australian banks, insurers, securities and futures companies, law firms, professional services suppliers, and education services exporters, as well as health, aged care, construction, manufacturing and telecommunications services businesses in China.
The Investment Chapter of ChAFTA provides a basis to deepen and diversify the bilateral investment relationship. Under ChAFTA, Australia and China committed to commence negotiations for further investment protections and increased market access in the future. Under most-favoured nation treatment (MFN) provisions, China committed to extend to Australian investors and their investments any more favourable treatment it provides to other foreign investors under future investment arrangements. These provisions protect Australia's competitive position in China into the future.
ChAFTA already supports increased services trade and investment flows in both directions by providing increased legal certainty on access conditions for Australian services exporters and investors. Following the services and investment reviews, we expect to commence negotiations with China promptly with the aim of further reducing barriers to trade in services and agreeing on additional protections for investors.
DFAT welcomes submissions from interested individuals and groups on the reviews of the services and investment chapters of ChAFTA as well as the review of the associated IFA MOU. In your submission you may wish to focus on one or all of these reviews. Especially helpful would be information on specific barriers to investment and services trade faced by business in China, and priorities for any possible future negotiations. The information stakeholders provide will assist the Government in determining Australia's key priorities as we progress these reviews.
To assist preparations, we would appreciate submissions by 1 September if possible. However, submissions will also be welcome at any time after this date.
Making a submission
Written submissions may take several forms – from a short email through to a more comprehensive analytical paper. These should be forwarded, preferably by email, per the details below:
Mail: China FTA Coordinator
Free Trade Agreement Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221