Free trade agreements (FTAs) help reduce barriers to trade and investment and produce tangible economic benefits.
Free trade agreements build on and complement the World Trade Organization framework. Efforts must continue to be directed at achieving meaningful trade liberalisation through the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha round and subsequent multilateral initiatives.
However, the spectre of stalled or slow multilateral negotiations and the rise of ‘new’ regionalism in the form of a proliferation of FTAs have raised questions over whether FTAs are achieving the desired outcomes for the future of trade liberalisation.
The BCA’s submission highlights that the negotiation of FTAs has been an important means of improving the business environment, driving competitiveness and increasing levels of global engagement.
The achievement of ‘best practice’ FTAs will be supported by further extending the opportunity for open and effective communication between business, other stakeholders and negotiators.