29 Apr 2020 — DFAT
Helping Australian businesses get the most out of our Free Trade Agreements
This article was originally published in November 2018 and updated in April 2020.
By Michael Dean and Angela Rendall, Free Trade Agreement Outreach Section, DFAT
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Portal provides easy access to information that helps exporters, importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders and other businesses benefit from Australia’s free trade agreements.
Users of the FTA Portal can, for instance, search for the goods they want to export using keywords, find reduced free trade agreement tariff rates, and learn how to obtain the documents necessary to get tariff reductions.
The FTA Portal also includes guidance and information on selling services to overseas customers, travelling overseas to supply services, and establishing an overseas presence.
Where more than one free trade agreement is available to an exporter or importer, the FTA Portal helps identify which agreement offers greater benefits. This feature of the FTA Portal will become increasingly important as Australia negotiates and implements new free trade agreements. DFAT is committed to expanding the FTA Portal in the future to incorporate information on Australia’s new free trade agreements as they enter into force. These expansions will ensure the FTA Portal continues to help Australians make the most of our free trade agreements.
Trading goods using the FTA Portal
Free trade agreements benefit goods exporters and importers by reducing or eliminating tariffs. To qualify for lower tariffs under a free trade agreement as an exporter or importer, a product is assessed against rules of origin (these are criteria used to determine whether your products are ‘Australian’ under the rules set out in each free trade agreement). Importers and exporters will also need to complete the agreement-specific certification documents. This short video demonstrates how easy it is to use the FTA Portal, including to obtain:
- harmonised system (HS) codes relating to a specific product and free trade agreement using the FTA Portal’s search tool;
- a comparison of different tariffs, in those cases where there is more than one free trade agreement available; and
- information on product-specific rules of origin and documentation requirements needed to claim the lower tariff under your chosen free trade agreement.
Trading services using the FTA Portal
Free trade agreements benefit service providers by including commitments to reduce the restrictions around cross-border services trade and foreign investment. This short video demonstrates how easy it is to use the FTA Portal to obtain information relating to services exports, including:
- whether a specific service is included in a free trade agreement;
- supplying a specific service across borders and setting up a commercial presence overseas; and
- requirements for working temporarily in an FTA partner economy.
Additional features of the FTA Portal
The FTA Portal has additional features which make it easier to use free trade agreements, particularly for first time importers and exporters, and people less familiar with trade terminology. It includes:
- A step-by-step guide for first-time and prospective exporters and importers of goods and services.
- A glossary explaining the meaning of commonly used words.
- Frequently Asked Questions, including: What is an HS Code? How can I find out the tariff rate for my good? How can I use FTAs to export services?
- General information relating to Australia’s free trade agreements
- Business case studies.
- An Application Programming Interface (API) feature, which gives Australian software developers the opportunity to create their own related applications.
This short video demonstrates how easy it is to access the additional features of the FTA Portal.
Communications and Parliamentary Branch at the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
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