The agreement contains, among other things, rules for the settlement of disputes between members of the telecommunications industry in one country with members of the other country. It gives the right to companies: specifies that test data and trade secrets submitted to a government for marketing authorization are protected for a period of five years for medicines and agrochemicals from unfair commercial use for a period of five years. It fills in the potential loopholes in these provisions. The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is a preferential agreement between Australia and the United States, modelled on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). AUSFTA was signed on May 18, 2004 and officially came into force on January 1, 2005. Special tariff quotas are part of the agreement. These quotas allow Australian producers to export larger quantities of these products to the United States duty-free during the duty elimination period. The following agricultural products are named: ESTV has opened markets for services such as life insurance and express deliveries, improved intellectual property protection and helped facilitate U.S. investment through predictable access and a stable business environment. For the first time, U.S.
companies in many sectors are not allowed to compete with Australian government purchases. U.S. agricultural exports receive duty-free treatment, including processed food products, fruits and vegetables, corn and soybeans. The free trade agreement has also made progress in the area of e-commerce and access to the drug market. Economic theory suggests that bilateral agreements such as the free trade agreement lead to the creation of trade between the parties directly concerned, but also to divert trade out of third countries and offset all the benefits. Bilateral agreements can also undermine multilateral agreements related to the World Trade Organization. Partly because of these factors, the estimates of benefits produced by the ICE and used by the government have been challenged by most economists who have engaged in Senate committees that have looked at the issue, some of whom have concluded that the agreement would reduce Australia`s economic well-being. · Requires a dispute resolution system for trademarks used in Internet domain names, which is important to prevent cyber-squatting with respect to high quality domain names. As a result, each party endeavours to ensure that it does not renounce such laws or otherwise abstain from them, or that it refrains from doing so in any other way, which weakens or reduces the protection afforded by these laws as an incentive to trade with the other party or as an incentive to establish, acquire, expand or maintain an investment in its territory. Austrade can help Australian companies become familiar with local market conditions and help develop export opportunities through a number of market and Australian services.
The Australian government did not have a majority in the Senate and therefore needed the support of the opposition Labor Party, the Greens, the Democrats or independent senators to get ratification. The government put pressure on Labor Party chairman Mark Latham to gain opposition support for the agreement (knowing that Latham, among many Labour members, saw the free trade agreement as beneficial). The issue had divided the party, particularly the left-wing group argued that labour should reject the deal. · More than 99% of U.S. exports of industrial products to Australia will be duty-free as soon as the agreement comes into force. Industrial products currently account for 93% of all U.S. assets.