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Committee on Regional Trade Agreements - Ninety-ninth session - Free trade agreement between Peru and Australia - Goods and services - Note on the meeting of 22 March 2021
作者: Peru and Australia

Free Trade Agreement between peru and Australia
(Goods and Services)

Note on the Meeting of 22 march 2021

Chairman: Ambassador H.E. Mr. Mārtiņš KREITUS (Latvia)

1.1.  The 99th Session of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (hereinafter "CRTA" or the "Committee") was convened in Airgram WTO/AIR/RTA/24/Rev.1 dated 12 March 2021.

1.2.  Under Agenda Item D.II of the Session, the CRTA considered the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and Australia, goods and services (hereinafter "the Agreement"). The Chairman stated that the Factual Presentation had been prepared by the Secretariat on its own responsibility in full consultation with the Parties, in accordance with paragraph 7(b) of the Transparency Mechanism for Regional Trade Agreements (document WT/L/671).

1.3.  The Chairman indicated that the Agreement had entered into force on 11 February 2020. It had been notified on 24 June 2020 under Article XXIV:7(a) of the GATT 1994 (document WT/REG404/N/1) and under GATS Article V:7(a) (S/C/N/1015) as an agreement establishing a free trade area within the meaning of Article XXIV of GATT 1994 and Article V of GATS. The text of the Agreement was available, together with its Annexes, on the Parties' official websites. The Factual Presentation on the goods and services aspects (document WT/REG404/1 dated 8 January 2021) and questions and replies on this Agreement (document WT/REG404/2 dated 9 March 2021) had been distributed.

1.4.  The representative of Australia thanked the Members for the opportunity to make opening remarks on the Agreement. She also thanked the Secretariat for drafting the factual presentation which had contributed to the important goal of transparency. The Agreement had entered into force on 11 February 2020 and had been notified on 24 June 2020 to the WTO. Australia remained committed to transparent notification of all its free trade agreements, including negotiation, conclusion and implementation, which it undertook consistent with WTO rules.

1.5.  The Agreement was a comprehensive, high standard agreement that would open new markets for Australian and Peruvian exporters and greater competition for consumers, increasing positive economic outcomes for the people in both countries. It provided a gateway to Latin America for Australia, strengthening the economic relationship between the Parties and within the region and helping facilitate value chains between the Americas and Asia.

1.6.  The Agreement met all the criteria of a high-quality agreement that promoted growth in goods and services trade. It was fully consistent with WTO principles and rules, it delivered WTO-plus outcomes, was comprehensive and provided substantial liberalisation across all sectors. It met the WTO threshold requirement that an agreement should cover “substantially all trade” between the parties. It eliminated more than 99 per cent of tariffs within five years of entry into force.

1.7.  The Agreement featured new trade rules for the use of Australian merino wool in supply chains, additional market access on base metals, coals, mineral fuels and mineral oils and new market outcomes for manufactured goods including paper and paperboard, pharmaceutical and medical devices. It also addressed non-tariff barriers and ensured efficient customs settings, particularly across education, mining equipment technology and services and other services trade.

1.8.  The Agreement contained WTO-plus outcomes on services. Both parties had made various improvements over their commitments under the WTO, covering a wide range of sectors such as sugar and dairy market access, professional services, mining equipment, technology and services and oilfield service providers, financial services, telecommunications services, health services, hospitality and tourism services, government procurement, education and the temporary entry of business people.

1.9.  It also included measures which assisted companies doing business in Australia and Peru, including facilitative arrangements for business travel as well as provisions to facilitate access to each other's government procurement markets, effective protection of intellectual property rights and promotion of competition,         enhanced regulatory coherence, a transparent mechanism for consultations and settlement of possible disputes arising under the Agreement and modern e-commerce rules that, among other things, removed impediments such as local data storage requirements and customs duties imposed on electronic transmissions.

1.10.  She thanked colleagues from Peru for their cooperation in preparing for the review and their business-like approach during negotiations. She also thanked Members for their questions. She welcomed further comments from Members and looked forward to the discussion in the CRTA Session.

1.11.  The representative of Peru thanked the WTO Secretariat for its hard work in drafting the factual presentation of the Agreement, the Members that had sent their questions in advance and the colleagues from Australia for their cooperation during the review.

1.12.  The Agreement was a comprehensive, modern, and high standard agreement. The negotiations had been concluded in 6 months, which confirmed the interest of both countries to integrate their markets, and there had been active participation with the Peruvian public and private sectors. It had allowed both countries to open up substantial new trade and investment opportunities, promote job-creating growth, integrate their economies in a fast-growing market and help facilitate value chains between the Americas and Asia.

1.13.  Concluding agreements such as the one under consideration, contributed to the goals and activities included in Peru's national strategic export plan, aimed at contributing to the consolidation of economic integration processes, facilitating the insertion of Peru's producers into international markets and improving market access conditions.

1.14.  The Agreement established a legal framework of clear, stable and transparent rules, as well as disciplines that promoted trade and investment. Moreover, it established legal certainty and predictability for economic agents and expands consumer options for the acquisition of goods and services, in addition to establishing effective and transparent procedures for the resolution of disputes. In that sense, he was certain that Peruvian exporters and importers would benefit highly from its implementation.

1.15.  For Peru, the Agreement was one of the most ambitious in terms of product coverage. Likewise, it was the first bilateral agreement that contained specific chapters on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and development which would allow both countries to work jointly to bring concrete opportunities for SMEs and their integration in global value chains. The FTA was a key instrument that would contribute to improved economic and commercial dynamism between Peru and Australia.

1.16.  In 2020, bilateral trade had been approximately USD 236 million, a figure that was still low, but which posed a great opportunity. By implementing the Agreement's mechanisms, the Parties could significantly increase their trade and contribute to the post-pandemic economic reactivation.

1.17.  Regarding the coverage of the Agreement, at the end of implementation in 2029, 99.8% of the Australian tariff would be duty-free for imports from Peru, which corresponded to 100% of imports in value terms. Only 13 tariff lines would remain subject to duties. Similarly, at the end of implementation, 99.4% of Peru's tariff would be duty-free for imports from Australia, corresponding to 97% of imports in value terms. Only 48 tariff lines would continue to be subject to duties, about 0.6% of Peru's tariff.

1.18.  Furthermore, the Agreement had established a framework without restrictions for the export of services, such as those related to mining and manufacturing, education and software design, among others. That was particularly favourable for Peruvian companies and SMEs that exported services using e-commerce.

1.19.  Peru was certain that the Agreement would be very beneficial and would allow the Parties to achieve their objectives of growth and development. He hoped that the factual presentation of the Agreement would help Members have a better understanding of its terms and looked forward to answering any additional questions.

1.20.  The representative of the European Union thanked the Parties for the presentation of the Agreement and for their replies to the EU's questions. She noted and welcomed the high level of liberalization and the inclusion of provisions on services, investment, SMEs, competition, labour, environment and e-commerce. She appreciated the work done.

1.21.  The representative of Colombia thanked the Secretariat for the factual presentation which was very exhaustive and had been reviewed by Capital. She thanked the Parties for contributing to the transparency mechanism and for the presentations made that day. Colombia asked a number of questions on the Agreement regarding non-tariff measures, foreign direct investment, provisions on trade and environment and general aspects of the Agreement. She thanked the Parties for their replies and for the consolidated document prepared by the Secretariat. Furthermore, Colombia considered with great interest the information on the chapter related to SMEs. The Parties recognized the important role played by SMEs in bilateral trade and tried to create an environment which supported the development, growth and competitiveness of SMEs. She also stressed the importance of the creation of contact points for SMEs and expressed her interest in knowing more about it in the future.

1.22.  The representative of the United States thanked Peru, Australia and the Secretariat for the transparency on the Agreement. She commended the Parties for the high level of liberalization under the Agreement. She finally thanked Peru and Australia for their commitment to notifying their non-notified agreements.

1.23.  The Chairman noted that the consideration of the Goods and Services Aspects of the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and Australia, had allowed the Committee to clarify a number of questions and thus concluded oral discussion of the RTA in accordance with paragraph 11 of the Transparency Mechanism. If any delegations wished to ask follow up questions they were invited to forward submissions in writing to the Secretariat by 29 March 2021 and Parties were asked to submit replies in writing by no later than 12 April 2021. In accordance with paragraph 13 of the Transparency Mechanism all written submissions, as well as minutes of this meeting would be circulated promptly, in all WTO official languages, and would be made available on the WTO website.

1.24.  The Committee took note of the comments made.