Landmark FTA between China and Australia in effect
Hailed as "historic" and "landmark" by the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) enables more than 86 percent of Australia's goods exports to China duty free, worth more than 90 billion AU dollars ($65 billion).
Once the agreement is fully implemented, 96 percent of Australian goods will enter China duty free, while 100 percent of Chinese exports to Australia will enjoy zero-tariff treatment.
Tariffs on coking coal (with exports worth 4.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2014-15) have been eliminated, while the phased elimination of tariffs on non-coking coal also starts on Sunday.
Minister for Tourism and International Education Richard Colbeck said in a statement on Sunday that ChAFTA is a boost for tourism.
In 2014-15, 927,700 Chinese nationals visited Australia and spent almost A$7 billion($5 billion), more than any other country. Tourism Research Australia forecasts that by 2022-23, 1.5 million Chinese will visit Australia annually and spend over A$10 billion ($7.2 billion).
Under ChAFTA, the Chinese Ministry of Education will promote 77 Australian private higher education institutions for students who want to study in Australia.
The agreement will also inevitably stimulate new levels of growth in the two-way investment which is currently worth around A$121 billion ($87 billion). ■