In a joint press statement issued Nov. 17, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the signing of a free trade agreement. Further details on the agreement are also available from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
China’s tariffs on Australian beef products, which currently range from 12 to 25 percent, will be eliminated over nine years. (These terms are similar to the New Zealand-China FTA, which has reduced China’s duties on chilled and frozen beef muscle cuts from 12 percent in 2008 to 2.7 percent this year, and will eliminate them completely by 2016.) Australia is already China’s largest beef supplier, with exports through September totaling 105,922 metric tons valued at $469.5 million.
China’s tariffs on Australian livestock, currently at 10 percent, will be eliminated over four years. Tariffs on Australian lamb and sheep meat products, which are currently 12 to 23 percent, will be eliminated over eight years. This is also similar to the New Zealand-China FTA, under which 12 percent duties on frozen bone-in lamb have been reduced to 2.7 percent, and will be eliminated by 2016. Australian dairy products are being heralded as the big winner in the FTA, with tariffs as high as 20 percent being eliminated over a period ranging from four to 11 years.