U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk met today with Australian Minister of Trade Simon Crean to review progress under the United States - Australian Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This was the fourth review of implementation of the agreement, which went into effect in 2005.
"The United States and Australia enjoy a strong and vibrant economic partnership, and the FTA remains a cornerstone in our economic relationship. This Agreement provides a platform for expanding trade and investment ties as well as fostering deeper cooperation on other economic issues where we share common goals," Ambassador Kirk said. "Today we had the opportunity to take stock of the progress under the FTA and we are pleased that the Agreement continues to contribute to economic growth and new opportunities for businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers in both countries."
During the meeting Ambassador Kirk and Minister Crean reviewed the implementation and operation of the FTA. They discussed in detail a range of issues covered by the agreement, including agriculture, intellectual property rights, and investment, labor and environment issues. In addition, USTR Kirk and Minister Crean also agreed to start a dialogue on ways in which the two countries can collaborate on a number of issues covered under the Environment Chapter. On multilateral issues, Ambassador Kirk emphasized the United States' resolve to achieve an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the WTO Doha Round. They also discussed advancing a bold agenda at the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers' and Leaders' meetings, as well as other regional economic developments.