U.S., Australia sign off on free-trade agreement
The U.S. and Australian governments signed off on a large scale free-trade agreement Tuesday.
One of the most important features of the free-trade agreement is its immediate elimination of more than 99 percent of manufactured goods tariffs between the two countries.
“This is the most significant immediate reduction of industrial tariffs ever achieved in a U.S. free-trade agreement,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick, in a statement Tuesday.
Negotiations for the free-trade agreement started in March 2003. Two-way trade between the United States and Australia is nearly $29 billion, a 53-percent increase since 1994.
“Much of this long race remains to be run,” Zoellick said at the conclusion of the signing. “In both the United States and Australia, we must now turn our attention to winning approval of the agreement from our respective legislatures.”