Australia has accused China of going against the “letter and spirit” of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAfta), a deal the two countries agreed to review at least after five years, according to SCMP. Neither Beijing nor Canberra has expressed willingness to further review the bilateral free-trade agreement signed five years ago, given the ongoing trade dispute.
- The absence of a review would not hurt the effectiveness of the free-trade deal, but Australia and China would waste an opportunity to talk about their trade disputes.
- ChAfta, signed on strong goodwill between the two countries, was meant for review seeking to deepen trade liberalization further and expand market access.
- “The targeted nature of Chinese government measures on Australian goods raises concerns about China’s adherence to the letter and spirit of its ChAfta and WTO obligations” – Simon Birmingham, Australian trade minister.
- Chinese trade officials are seen as unlikely to reassess the bilateral free-trade agreement with Australia this month.
- Australia has not contacted China to conduct the review, and there are no further plans for the next step.
- Earlier in the year, the Australian called for submissions from local industries in preparation for a ChAfta review by December.
- Terminations of the free trade deal ahead of review is unlikely despite tensions.
- The treaty allows one party to cancel it, through notice to the other side, without needing to wait for the scheduled review period.
- The landmark free-trade agreement took 10 years to complete and led to zero tariffs on many goods, giving rise to last year’s two-way trade relationship worth US$159 billion.
Australia dollar and China’s yuan are gaining. AUDUSD is up 0.93%, USDCNY is up 0.07%