This Report contains the Committee’s review of seven treaty actions:
Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Peru (Canberra, 12 February 2018);
The Agreement to terminate the Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Peru on the Promotion and Protection of Investments (Lima 7 December 1995);
Framework Agreement Between Australia, of the one part and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part (Manila, 7 August 2017)
Treaty between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea (New York, 6 March 2018);
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization in relation to the functioning of the Australian Patent Office as an International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty;
Agreement on Scientific, Technological and Innovation Cooperation between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Italian Republic (Canberra, 22 May 2017); and
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation (Canberra, 7 September 2017).
The Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Peru (PAFTA) is intended to open new trade and investment opportunities for Australia. Negotiations for PAFTA were entered into in the wake of the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and in tandem with the negotiations for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). PAFTA is expected to provide better market access than that obtained under the TPP-11. The Committee is currently reviewing the TPP-11. It found that many of the issues raised in this inquiry were also addressed in the TPP-11 inquiry and has chosen to review those common issues in more detail in its report on the TPP-11.
The Committee acknowledges the ongoing concerns caused by the continuing proliferation of trade agreements with the same partners, and that the complexity of entering these markets may be hindering businesses from taking full advantage of the opportunities presented. It encourages the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), other relevant departments and umbrella organisations to continue developing and providing practical assistance that will assist Australian businesses, particularly small businesses, to navigate the available agreements and engage in these markets.
The European Union (EU) Framework Agreement formalises a range of existing bilateral cooperation and dialogue processes between the Australia and the EU. The Committee recognises the need for this aspirational Agreement to reaffirm commitment to high-level political dialogue, shared values and the common principles that underpin the bilateral relationship between Australia and the EU.
The Committee welcomes the finalisation of the Treaty between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea. The Agreement settles a permanent maritime boundary between Australia and Timor-Leste, bringing certainty after some fifty years of controversy.
The Agreement with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ensures that the Australian Patent Office remains an International Authority, able to provide an important service for both Australian and international clients.
The two Agreements on scientific technical cooperation, one with Italy the other with Brazil, reinforce Australia’s commitment to international cooperation in scientific and technological fields with two important partners.
The Committee has recommended that all of the six treaty actions be ratified and binding treaty action be taken in each case. The termination agreement for the Peru-Australia investment treaty will happen automatically when PAFTA comes into effect.
The Report also contains the Committee’s review of the following four minor treaty actions:
Protocol to Amend Annex 2 and Annex 5 of the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Protocol);
Fifth Protocol Establishing the Prolongation of the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Australia on the Presence of Australian Personnel in the Netherlands for the Purpose of Responding to the Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 (Fifth Protocol);
Amendments to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP); and
Amendments to the Annex of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocols of 1978 and 1997 relating thereto Amendments to Annex VI (Designation of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea Emission Control Areas for NOx Tier III control) Resolution MEPC.286(71).