30 October 2009
A MASSIVE new free trade zone comprising 16 countries - home to half the world's population and accounting for one-third of global gross domestic product will come into force 01 January 2010.
At the Asean Plus Three Summit' Asean leaders and their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea accepted a report on a feasibility study on the proposed East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA).
A separate report on another study on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) - adding India, Australia and New Zealand to the Asean Plus Three - was submitted at the East Asia Summit.
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement will come into force 01 January 2010, following discussion between ASEAN leaders at the East Asia Summit in Thailand late October 2009.
The Free Trade Agreement will establish the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade area, spanning 12 economies and more than 600,000 million people and a combined GDP of US$3.1 trillion. The Agreement covers 20 per cent of Australia's two-way trade, worth US$112 billion and will eliminate tariffs on 90 per cent of Australia's current exports to ASEAN nations by 2020.