In the shadow of the Australia-China Free Trade agreement negotiation: obstacles and suggestions

He, Ling Ling ORCID: (2010) In the shadow of the Australia-China Free Trade agreement negotiation: obstacles and suggestions. In: 2nd Biennial Global Conference of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL 2010), 8-10 Jul 2010, Barcelona, Spain.

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Since the 1990s, regional trade agreements have come to complement multilateral trade agreements as a major means for promoting free trade. With free trade agreements spreading across Europe, the Americas and East Asia, China and Australia entered into negotiations for an Australia – China free trade agreement (ACFTA) in 2005. So far, fourteen rounds of talks have been held. However, negotiations between the two countries seem to have come to a standstill with no substantial progress has been made since December 2008.
This article seeks to explain why the negotiations of the ACFTA have been extremely difficult. It points out that while Canberra wants to gain more market access in China for Australian firms, particularly access to agricultural and foreign direct investments sectors, Beijing is more interested in seeking a stable supply of energy resources and raw materials that China needs for her rapidly growing economy. The sticking point has been the differing approaches of the two countries by reason of their differences in level of economic development, understanding of FTA, the logistics of market and non market economies, different political systems, cultural outlook, and the issue human rights. There has also been stubborn resistance in some quarters to a FTA in both countries: in China, against further liberalisation of the agricultural and services sectors beyond the level of her World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments; in Australia against the potential influx of cheap Chinese goods as well as the risk of losing control of its Resources industry. Additional Australian concerns include China's poor record on environmental and food safety standards. As a means of overcoming these hurdles, the paper suggests the need for a period of adjustment of the respective markets in the sensitive areas of agriculture, and the services and investment markets. This will condition the constituencies in both countries of the benefits of ACTFA. In this respect, the existing China – New Zealand FTA provisions Special Agricultural Safeguard Measures (Art 13) and Trade in Services (Arts 103-124) provide a useful referent. The paper suggests avenues for breaking the deadlock, and that these lie in terms of institutional changes, and a stronger commitment from the leadership of both economies.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Law (1 Apr 2007 - 31 Dec 2010)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Law (1 Apr 2007 - 31 Dec 2010)
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2014 04:04
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2015 05:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia-China Free Trade agreement; ACFTA; regional trade agreements; negotiation; WTO; environmental standards; food safety standards
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150308 International Business
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180117 International Trade Law
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200103 International and Development Communication
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350706 International business
48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4803 International and comparative law > 480308 International trade and investment law
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470104 International and development communication
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9103 International Trade > 910301 International Agreements on Trade
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