Agreement on ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA enters into force
 updatetime:2010-04-01 13:49:15   View:0 Source:Xinhuanet
    JAKARTA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), which is regarded the single most-comprehensive economic agreement

JAKARTA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), which is regarded the single most-comprehensive economic agreement, has entered into force on January 1, 2010, a statement sent by the ASEAN Secretariat office said here on Tuesday.
 
It said signing of AANZFTA establishment agreement took place in February 2009 in Thailand.
 
Eight of the 12 Parties Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam are now implementing the Agreement and the commitments they have made therein.
 
"This is indeed a significant development particularly in our efforts to slowly integrate the markets in this region," Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN said in the statement.
 
"What makes this particular development more meaningful is the fact that the AANZFTA is being implemented amidst such economically challenging times," Dr Surin added.
 
The AANZFTA Agreement hopes to create a trans-Pacific free trade zone comprising a market of 600 million people with a combined GDP of 2.7 trillion U.S. dollars.
 
It is expected to substantially reduce barriers to trade in goods and services, thereby, opening up a wide range of opportunities for trade and investment in the region not only for the Parties but non-Parties as well.
 
Dr Surin encouraged the rest of the Parties to the Agreement to endeavor to be on board to enable them to reap the benefits from the Agreement as early as possible.
 
Under the AANZFTA, tariff reductions started gradually on January 1, 2010 with free trade to be fully realized by 2015.
 
The newer ASEAN Member States Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have longer time frames.
 
The Agreement with Australia-New Zealand is unique in that the goods, services and investment components were negotiated in a single undertaking as compared to FTAs with other ASEAN Dialogue Partners where they are negotiated sequentially.