Welcomes Progress on the U.S.-Australia FTA
United States Trade Representative Rob Portman met today with the Australian
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Mark Vaile for the first annual
review of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into
force on January 1, 2005.
"I am pleased with the success of our FTA so far. After only one year, the
U.S.-Australia FTA has expanded trade in goods and services, benefiting the
citizens of both countries," Portman said. "We’ve seen a substantial jump in
exports of U.S. goods, including pork, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables,
rice, wine, machinery, including electrical machinery, trucks and parts, and
aircraft. This is great news for American businesses, workers, farmers and
ranchers as well as Australian consumers."
In addition to reviewing the results of the FTA so far, the two sides
discussed ongoing implementation and other issues. Portman urged Vaile to
continue to work to ensure further progress on agriculture, telecommunications,
and intellectual property rights issues. He also discussed with the Australian
Government the need for transparent pharmaceuticals pricing processes consistent
with the commitments in the U.S. – Australia FTA.
Portman and Vaile also had the opportunity to discuss the ongoing WTO Doha
Round talks. "I appreciate Minister Vaile’s continued leadership in the Doha
negotiations, particularly in the area of agriculture, and I look forward to our
continued efforts to help promote and achieve an ambitious outcome," Portman
Australia is a major trade and investment partner of the United States. Since
the FTA entered into force in 2005, U.S. goods exports to Australia in 2005 were
up 10.9 percent from 2004 to $15.8 billion.
The U.S.-Australia FTA is a state-of-the-art agreement that reflects the
modern global economy by opening markets and streamlining mutual access in
intellectual property, services, government procurement, e-commerce and
investment. This historic agreement slashed tariffs on manufactured and
agricultural goods, reduced barriers for services firms, provides for
state-of-the-art intellectual property protection, facilitates U.S. investments,
opens Australia’s government procurement market to U.S. goods and service
suppliers, keeps pace with new technologies and new ways of doing business, and
promotes continued environmental and labor protections."