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ASEAN Made Easy: your guide to leveraging the new FTA

Australia's closest neighbours have opened their doors to free trade with Australia. If you'd like to take advantage of the opportunities that come with this, the Australian Business International Trade team can assist with a sound trade strategy and the right export documentation.

Overview of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA)

The ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), ratified on January 1, 2010, provides a progressive reduction, or in most cases, elimination of tariffs on Australian good exports, and an elimination of ALL Australian tariffs on imports from AANZFTA parties.

The Agreement covers goods, services, investment, intellectual property, e-commerce, temporary movement of business people as well as economic cooperation. It also contains measures relating to customs procedures and cooperation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures and competition policy.

Impacts for ASEAN exporters

Australian goods and services will now be more competitive in the 11 countries [Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam] participating in the agreement. It also means that imports from these countries will become cheaper, it will be easier for Australian service providers to do business with these countries and Australian investors in ASEAN will achieve a greater level of transparency and certainty.

What you need to know

Export documentation requirements

To take advantage of the tariff reductions and greater market access, Australian merchandise exporters will need to obtain an AANZFTA Certificate of Origin for each order; verifying the origin of your product. Australian importers will also need to ensure their suppliers understand the AANZFTA protocol and include the appropriate documentation with their shipments.

Varying timelines for tariff reductions means a blanket approach won't work

The tariff reductions and eliminations timeframe varies according to product and country in question. It therefore pays to do your homework on the specific timeframes for each country and then develop a strategy based on which market you should enter first or when and where you should switch suppliers.

Early exporters will gain the advantage

The AANZFTA provides Australian businesses with a clear advantage over countries that are have yet to sign FTAs with ASEAN. However, with China, Korea, Japan and India having already established FTAs with ASEAN, as well as a number of countries having bi-lateral FTAs with individual ASEAN countries, and more FTAs in the pipeline, if you don't take advantage of this opportunity now or in the near future, you will lose it.

You can choose which FTA you'd like to use

The bilateral FTAs Australia has with New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand will not be affected by AANZFTA, providing you meet the Rules of Origin (ROO) under the relevant FTA. In fact, you can choose which FTA you wish to trade under depending on what is most advantageous. The AANZFTA will, however, mean that Australian businesses already trading with Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand can make use of the AANZFTAs regional ROO under the agreement's tariff commitments, making it easier to do business in and with the ASEAN region as a whole. The variables that come into play in switching between FTAs does mean greater complexity in developing a coherent export strategy into the region, making added caution essential.

Want to know more?

Australian Business International Trade Services can provide all your AANZFTA export documentation and market development requirements. To speak to one of our South East Asia specialists, call 1800 505 529 or email us


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Gary Dawes
Senior Consultant, International Trade
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Manager, Middle East
International Trade
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