Chile FTA to open market up to meat, wine and dairy exports

Posted by James Ferre on 11th February 2009

The Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement is set to come into force on 6 March, 2009, allowing a host of Australian exporters a greater opportunity to enter a growing market.

The Minister for Trade Simon Crean welcomed the start of the FTA saying it would take the relationship with Chile to a new level. “I am proud of this agreement. This is the first Free Trade Agreement to be concluded by the Rudd Government and, with this announcement, will be the first to enter into force. It is an agreement of the highest quality,” he suggested. “It is the most comprehensive outcome on goods in any FTA that Australia has negotiated with another agricultural producing country since the Closer Economic Relations agreement with New Zealand signed … in 1983.”

“At a time of significant downturn in the global economic outlook facing this country, this FTA demonstrates our commitment to expanding trade opportunities, and to our broader efforts to drive economic growth through international trade,” Mr Crean said.

The Agreement eliminates immediately Chile’s tariffs on almost 92 per cent of tariff lines covering 97 per cent of goods currently traded. This includes Australian coal, meat wine and key dairy exports and all other industrial goods of interest to Australia. Tariffs on all existing merchandise trade will be eliminated by 2015.

“As Australia is one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment in Chile, it is notable that the Agreement includes access to and strong protections for Australian investment in Chile, including a right for investors to protect their investments directly through investor-state dispute settlement,” Mr Crean advised.

Reflecting the Government’s increasing focus on helping services suppliers, the Agreement includes commitments by Chile to maintain an open and non-discriminatory market for Australian services, including in important sectors for Australia such as education, professional services, mining, engineering, management consulting and financial services.

Chile is Australia’s third largest trading partner in Latin America and there are approximately 120 Australian companies actively trading with Chile.