China-Australia FTA to take effect ‘as soon as possible’

China and Australia officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on Wednesday June 17 and the pact will be effective “as soon as possible”.

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A spokesman for Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade confirmed the news to Steel First.

No timeframe was given as there are some “domestic processes” that need to be implemented but the aim is to have the FTA effective soon, the spokesman added. However, Chinese media has speculated that it will take effect in the fourth quarter of this year.

Once the FTA comes into force, the 3% import tax on Australian coking coal will be eliminated immediately while the 6% tariffs on thermal coal will be phased out over two years, according to a previous statement.

The free trade agreement also locks in existing zero tariffs on Australian iron ore exports.

China reinstated an import tax on coal in October last year in a move to protect domestic materials. A 3% import duty is currently in place for coking coal and anthracite imports, while some pulverised coal injection (PCI) materials attract a 6% tax under Chinese categories.

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