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Treaties Committee recommends ratification of Southeast Asia trade area agreement

Parliament of Australia 2 mins read

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has tabled a report recommending the ratification of the following treaty action:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is Australia’s second largest trading partner with two-way trade totalling AUD 178 billion and AANZFTA is noted as being ASEAN’s highest quality free trade agreement in terms of market access for goods trade.

Building on the original AANZFTA agreement signed in February 2009, the AANZFTA Second Protocol provides broader coverage through new provisions on services and investments, new digital trade data rules, and first-time cooperation in the areas of environment, labour rights, and women’s economic empowerment.   

Committee Chair Mr Josh Wilson MP said: “ASEAN’s strong economic growth is set to continue and in implementing the Second Protocol, Australia will expand economic opportunities and integration with this important region. Through stronger investment protection and commitments to specific sectors, this protocol increases assurance for Australian investors and with improvements with respect to inclusive and sustainable trade, creates new commercial opportunities and establishes new shared wellbeing norms that will benefit Australia.”

“During public hearings concerns were raised regarding investor-state dispute settlement provisions in the AANZFTA and their ability to impinge upon national sovereignty. Significantly, Australia negotiated a review of ISDS provisions as part of the Second Protocol. The Committee will maintain a close interest in the review, and will seek an update on the government’s review work program in due course.”

The Committee supports ratification and recommends that binding treaty action be taken for this protocol as well as the following minor treaty actions;

  • Implementing Changes to the Product-Specific Rules Annex of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  • Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization, 1986
  • Amendments of 2022 to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006

The report can be found on the Committee website, along with further information on the inquiry.

Media inquiries

Mr Tim Watkin, Chief of Staff, Office of Josh Wilson MP
0434 555 823

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 4002
jsct@aph.gov.au

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

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