Committee examines South East Asia trade area agreement

THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will hold a public hearing today for its inquiry into the Second Protocol to Amend the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) (Second Protocol).

The Second Protocol updates the original treaty and First Protocol with a range of new provisions including additional commercial opportunities for Australian businesses, particularly in the services sector, and the digital economy and green economy.

The 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aim to work together to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development, promote peace and security, promote collaboration and mutual assistance, and encourage growth in the agriculture, industry, and trade sectors.

In 2022, ASEAN was Australia’s second largest trading partner with the relationship accounting for $178 billion in two-way trade. ASEAN Member States represent six out of Australia’s top 15 export markets.

The Second Protocol further includes a chapter on trade and sustainable development for the first time in an ASEAN-centred free trade agreement. This will enhance cooperation on labour standards, environmental protection and women’s economic empowerment, which are key objectives of the Australian Government.

Committee Chair, Josh Wilson MP said, “The Second Protocol to the AANZFTA is designed to deepen the beneficial trading relationships between Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN.

"By upgrading the AANZFTA, Australians and our New Zealand and ASEAN partners would see liberalised trade provisions on services and investments, new digital trade data rules, and steps towards enhanced cooperation on the environment, labour rights, and women’s economic empowerment.”

As part of the public hearing, the committee will hear from officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney-General’s Department and Australian Border Force.

Public hearing details 

Date:              Monday 18 March 2024Time:              11amLocation:       Committee Room 2R1

The hearing can be accessed online and the program for this hearing is available on the Committee website, along with further information about the inquiry.



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