The Philippines and Australia have a fruitful history of economic and business cooperation. Cordial and productive business relations between the two countries extend from trade and investments to tourism, and more. The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), signed on 27 February 2009 and enforced on 1 January 2010, further cements this relationship.
The AANZFTA encompasses the Philippines, Brunei, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. With this agreement, economic and business cooperation to concretely facilitate trade are put in place. For instance, tariff for 90 percent or more of all tariff lines shall be reduced progressively, even down to zero. New rules are established to facilitate movement of goods, including rules of origin, customs procedures and mechanisms. Service suppliers in the region shall be given greater market access by progressively liberalizing barriers to trade in services. The movement of business people engaged in trade and investment activities is facilitated.
In specific terms on tariff, as soon as the AANZFTA was enforced on 1 January 2010, 96.4% of Australia's tariff lines and 84.7% of New Zealand's tariff lines will have zero tariff. By 2011, the coverage shall be increased further so that there will be zero or only up to 5% tariff on 96.7% of Australia's tariff lines and 91.3% of New Zealand's tariff lines. By 2020, all tariff lines of Australia and New Zealand shall have been reduced to zero. This is good news for Philippine exporters to Australia and New Zealand, and shall encourage brisk trade.
Many sectors are covered by this liberalization, such as fruit and vegetable juices, processed and preserved fruit and vegetables, cotton, minerals and fuel, machinery, electric machinery, plastics and articles of plastics, rubber, textile and textile articles, clothing and footwear, vehicles for passengers, vehicles for transporting goods, and furniture.
Philippine – Australia trade in terms of services shall be boosted with more opportunities for Philippine service providers in the areas of business services, communication services, educational services, environmental services, financial services and transport services.
Business services, include legal services, nurses and midwives, and services to mining. Communication services include telecommunication services. Environmental services include protection of ambient air and climate, remediation and clean up of soil and water, noise and vibration abatement, protection of biodiversity and landscape, and wastewater and waste management. Transport services include maritime transport, rail transport, and rental of commercial vehicles.
Philippine – New Zealand trade in terms of services shall be boosted with more opportunities for Philippine service providers in the areas of business services, construction and related engineering services, educational services, environmental services and financial services. Business Services include legal services, engineering services and veterinary services. Financial services include non-life insurance services and insurance intermediation.
In its first quarter since the AANZFTA was enforced, Philippine exports to Australia already grew by 17 percent. This is concrete proof that the agreement is working well and is quickly achieving its goal of boosting Philippines – Australia trade through continuing economic and business cooperation. Philippine businessmen are being given the heads up to maximize their use of this golden opportunity.
Philippines - Australia Business Cooperation and AANZFTA Boost Trade
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