Australia-US FTA 10 year review shows little benefit and many costs

16 April 2016

DFAT invited at short notice submissions for a 10 year review of the AUSFTA, which was implemented in 2005. The review is extremely limited as it is conducted behind closed doors and will not consider changes to the text, discussing only the implementation of the agreement. 

All of the peer-reviewed academic studies of AUSFTA, including those done by the Productivity Commission, have concluded that the potential economic benefits of the agreement were oversold, with actual economic outcomes for Australia either minuscule or negative. However the agreement required substantial changes to Australian law and policies which benefited US corporations at the expense of Australian citizens. These included extension of monopolies on copyright from 50 to 70 years, and other changes which favoured copyright holders over consumers, reductions in the regulation of Australian content in new forms of audio-visual media and limits on the regulation of essential services like energy and water services. It also required limits on local content in government procurement and the establishment of joint committees to review policies in relation to the pricing of medicines, quarantine, and food labelling.

In the context of the limited time frame and limited scope of the review, AFTINET has made a short submission which summarises and references all of these studies. You can download it here.