This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.  

Australia To Resume Bilateral FTA Negotiations With China

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Australian Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, in a speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Association in Sydney, provided a review of Australia’s present and future free trade agreements (FTAs), during which he confirmed that the 14th round of negotiations with China on their bilateral agreement would be held this month, after being stalled since December 2008.

Crean disclosed that negotiations have been difficult in certain key market access areas, said to be agriculture and services, of a future Australia-China FTA, and that they have taken longer than the Australian government had hoped. However, he felt that the high-level political commitment to the FTA remains on both sides.

Crean had previously reflected on the importance to both China and Australia of concluding an FTA, given that China had gone back to being Australia’s largest trading partner.

He also confirmed that Australia is developing trade relationships on many fronts, believing that there is a complementary relationship between multilateral, regional and bilateral FTAs. Australia has six FTAs already in place, it is negotiating a further seven, and two more are under consideration.

He pointed to the current agreements with the United States, New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as excellent models of the direction in which the government wants Australia to go in using trade liberalization to promote economic integration.

“Another key trade agreement that is driving the trade agenda forward, as well as strengthening our links with Latin America, is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP),” Crean said. “Australia, together with the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Brunei, Peru and Vietnam will begin negotiating this ambitious FTA in March in Melbourne.”

“The TPP represents an important basis for regional economic integration,” he added. “It can be a building block towards the goal of a free trade area spanning the Asia Pacific.”

Beyond regional trade agreements, the Australian government is also taking a strategic approach to bilateral FTAs. “Where we do not have FTAs with our top export markets,” Crean noted, “we are in the process of negotiating or discussing them.”

Apart from China, the government is committed to concluding a comprehensive FTA with Japan (where discussions on agriculture are still difficult); progress is being made in FTA negotiations with South Korea; and a feasibility study on an FTA with India is close to finalization.

Finally, other bilateral FTAs are under negotiation with Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Negotiations began last year with Pacific nations and Australia and New Zealand on PACER Plus, and an FTA with Indonesia is also under consideration.

Crean pointed out, however, that there are two major “missing links” in Australia’s FTA network. “We have no FTAs with either Africa or Europe,” he disclosed, “and two of our top ten trading partners are the United Kingdom and Germany.”

He has seen that Australian mining companies have already signaled investment of more than AUD20bn (USD17.8bn) in projects in more than 35 African nations. The Australian resources sector, he said, is committed to Africa, and the government will work in tandem with it.

With regard to Europe, he noted that the European Union (EU), as a bloc, is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner. An FTA is not currently on the agenda as the EU had previously made a decision to complete FTAs only with developing countries. However, the EU has signaled its preparedness to do one with Canada, and Australia has sought clarification whether this heralds a different approach.

In conclusion, Crean stated that “the trade policy approach I have outlined underscores Australia’s ability to back multiple processes in support of free trade – multilaterally in the WTO through the Doha Round and regionally and bilaterally through FTAs. These are processes that complement each other, and they are all aimed at achieving trade liberalization and greater regional economic integration.”

Mailing List

Click here to manage your mailing list preferences, or view our privacy statement.

The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions


Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation


Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees


Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees


Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax


Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision


Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment


Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations


Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations


Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004


Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment


Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama


Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance


Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Latest News

Jersey Regulator Issues AML/CTF Funds Guidance
Jersey's financial services regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, has issued new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidance for Funds and Fund Operators.

More Tax Hikes For UK Taxpayers In 2017 Budget
The UK Budget, released on March 9, 2017, featured tax measures to, among other things, hike taxes on self-employed workers, further close avenues for legal avoidance, and defer mandatory digital tax reporting until April 2019.

ACOSS Submits Recommendations For Australian Budget
The Australian Council of Social Services has urged that the Government abolish ineffective tax concessions, introduce a sugary drinks tax, and scrap its company tax proposals.

MEPs Call For Wider Access To Beneficial Ownership Data
EU citizens would be able to view information in registers of beneficial ownership without having to demonstrate a "legitimate interest," under proposed amendments the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

New Zealand Tax Changes Enter Into Force
A Bill including provisions to simplify New Zealand's tax processes, reduce compliance costs for smaller businesses, and tighten foreign trust disclosure rules received Royal Assent on February 21.

Guernsey Introduces Client Asset Handling Rules
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said it intends to introduce rules governing the holding and administration of client assets in 2017.

Australian Accountants Urge Tax Burden Shift
Australia desperately needs large scale tax reform and should aim to rebalance its tax mix, the Institute of Public Accountants has argued.

IRS Issues Final Regulations On REIT Spin-Offs
On January 18, the US Internal Revenue Service issued its final regulations regarding the measures included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act to restrict the tax-free spin-offs involving publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Bermuda, EU To Collaborate On Insurance, Pensions Oversight
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the Bermuda Monetary Authority have newly signed a memorandum of understanding.

Hong Kong Consults On Beneficial Ownership Plans
Hong Kong's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has launched public consultations on legislative proposals to increase the transparency of corporate beneficial ownership in the city, and to enhance its regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Hong Kong Reports On Incorporations In 2016
There was an increase in local company incorporations in Hong Kong in 2016, although incorporations by foreign companies experienced a dip, according to the territory's Companies Registry.

Guernsey Regulator Outlines 2017 Funds Strategy
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, has outlined its funds sector strategy for 2017.

Canada Waives Income, Activities Reporting For Labor Org's
Canada's Revenue Minister has announced that certain reporting requirements on labor organizations and labor trusts will be waived.

South African Tax Bills Approved By Parliament
South Africa's Ministry of Finance has published the 2016 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, which has received parliamentary approval and gives effect to the tax changes announced in the Budget in February this year, together with legislation confirming the final details of. the Special Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Switzerland Praised For Combatting Financial Crime
The Swiss Federal Council has hailed the publication of the Financial Action Task Force's fourth mutual evaluation report on action taken to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, stating that "overall Switzerland's results can be considered to be good."