FTA Digital Seminars – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out about the benefits of an FTA for my product or service?

Commitments, eligibility and technical requirements vary between FTAs.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) FTA Portal is a comprehensive resource for exporters and importers looking to explore the benefits of Australia's FTAs. More information on how to use the FTA Portal and its features are available.

The DFAT website also provides detailed information about each of Australia’s FTAs, including fact sheets of key outcomes and the full text of each agreement.

What do I need to do to access the benefits under an FTA?

There are several steps exporters and importers need to take in order to qualify for preferential treatment under a FTA.

To help step you through this process, Austrade has developed the Free Trade Advantage online platform – bringing together a range of practical advice and resources to help Australian businesses access the benefits of Australia’s FTAs and government support.

The DFAT website also provides detailed information about each of Australia’s FTAs, including practical guides to using each FTA to export or import goods.

How do I find the HS code for my product and the tariff rates under each FTA?

You can use the DFAT FTA Portal to help you identify your HS Code (Harmonized System Code), also commonly known as a product code. The FTA Portal will also help you to:

  1. Search for your product and obtain the product code (HS Code) relating to a specific agreement
  2. Obtain accurate information on the tariff rates for any of Australia’s FTAs
  3. Be guided on your eligibility for tariff rate reductions under a specific FTA, via the Rules of Origin questionnaire
  4. Find out how to obtain certification through an authorised certifying body or how to self-certify.

You can learn more about HS codes and other FTA qualification processes on the Free Trade Advantage online platform.

There is more than one FTA for my product, which one should I use to get the best tariff reduction?

Some markets and products are covered by multiple FTAs, where both bilateral and regional agreements are in place. For example, Australia has a bilateral agreement with Japan and both countries are party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

You can use the DFAT FTA Portal to search and compare tariff rates between agreements to help you determine which FTA is best for your product.

How do I check if my product fits under the Rules of Origin?

In order to qualify for preferential treatment, your product will need to satisfy the Rules of Origin under the agreement.

You can take a short questionnaire on the DFAT FTA Portal to check whether you are likely to be eligible for the preferential tariff rates under the FTA. More information on how to use the FTA Portal and its features are available.

You can learn more about Rules of Origin and other FTA qualification processes on the Free Trade Advantage online platform.

Where can I get a Certificate of Origin for my product?

The certification requirements vary between FTAs. For some agreements, you are able to do a self- certification, while others will require a Certificate of Origin from an authorised body.

You can use the DFAT FTA Portal to search for your product’s documentation requirements.

Australian exporters have the option of obtaining a Certificate of Origin from the following authorised bodies (charges will apply and may vary depending on the authorised body):

You can learn more about certification documentation requirements and other FTA qualification processes on the Free Trade Advantage online platform.

What FTAs are currently in force? How do I find out about new FTAs being negotiated?

Australia currently has 14 FTAs in force covering 20 markets, including most of Australia’s top-ranked trading partners. Twelve FTAs are bilateral and two are regional agreements.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus will enter into force on 13 December 2020.

Australia also has an ambitious FTA negotiation agenda with a number of bilateral and regional negotiations underway.

For details of each agreement, including the status of FTAs in force, concluded, and under negotiation, please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website.

I am new to exporting, where do I go for more information and help?

It’s important to consider if your business is ready and to be sure that you understand exactly what exporting entails before you start, take a look at Austrade’s guide to exporting.

Expand your business by exporting is a useful checklist to guide you step-by-step through exporting.

Austrade’s website provides a range of services and assistance to Australian exporters and education providers covering:

  • Information and advice on exporting and international business
  • International trade and education alerts
  • Services including market-entry and expansion assistance
  • Referrals to specialist service providers.

What government grants or loans are available to help exporters?

The Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) Scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Administered by Austrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industries.

The EMDG scheme:

  • Encourages small and medium-sized Australian businesses to develop export markets
  • Reimburses up to 50 per cent of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 provided that the total expenses are at least $15,000
  • Provides up to eight grants to each eligible applicant.

Export Finance Australia, the government’s export credit agency, offers a range of specialist export finance solutions to support your international business goals.

You can also search and find other grants and support programs from across government at business.gov.au.

Where do I go for more information about a particular market?

Austrade’s new Find export markets and Export Market Profiles toolkit shows you how to select markets and diversify your business. It includes step-by-step activities, links to data sources and tips from expert advisers. The tool is currently for food and agriculture businesses with more sectors coming soon. Try the tools, you might be surprised which markets are best for you. You can also search on your chosen market which will provide you Market Profiles that will help you research export opportunities and logistics.

How do I find out about export opportunities for my products or services?

The Austrade website provides comprehensive information on how to export and select export markets most suitable to your product or service. Use the Austrade website to undertake market research and prepare your export strategy.

You can also register to receive alerts and updates from Austrade in areas of interest, including upcoming events and business missions.

I need help with air freight, how do I access support under the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM)?

If you are an Australian business who exports and your products satisfy the IFAM eligibility principles (see definition below), please register your interest.

Once you’ve registered and received an acknowledgement email, you should contact your Freight Forwarder to access any of the below options:

On inbound flights, IFAM is prioritising medical supplies, medicines and equipment to support Australia’s health response, as well as items deemed in the national interest. Importers can work with their freight forwarder to access freight capacity – see IFAM flight schedule inbound.

If importers are having difficulty accessing freight space for urgent medical supplies please contact airfreight@austrade.gov.au.

What freight is prioritised on outbound IFAM flights?

Eligibility for products supported by IFAM is determined by a set of overarching principles rather than a list of commodities. Products that are eligible are Australian made or produced, high-value, time sensitive, reliant on airfreight (for example, due to perishability) or otherwise deemed to be in the national interest.

For example:

  • products that could not be sent by an alternative to airfreight without losing their essential product characteristics or value
  • goods that have a limited shelf life or are required to meet a sudden or immediate need.

IFAM is not limited to agriculture and seafood goods. Any product which meets the above principles may be considered for IFAM support.

Other products eligible under the principle-based framework may include medicines which have a short shelf-life, are high-value and are reliant on airfreight to meet a sudden or immediate need – for example blood products, or raw material ingredients for pharmaceuticals.

Frozen product such as frozen meat or seafood do not meet the criteria for IFAM support, as these are not time-sensitive or perishable products. Powdered milk is also out of scope.

The eligibility principles apply to all exports seeking IFAM support, including via IFAM grants, charter flights and block bookings.

The International Freight Coordinator General and Australian Government Freight Controller have authority to make decisions based on the principles outlined above, with guidance from the Airfreight Deputy Secretary Board.

What freight is prioritised on inbound IFAM flights?

On inbound flights, IFAM is prioritising medical supplies, medicines and equipment to support Australia’s health response, as well as items deemed in the national interest.

For example, on inbound flights IFAM has supported:  

  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)  
  • Pharmaceuticals and consumables  
  • Medical equipment and consumables  
  • Inputs to health industries
  • Imported components essential to the operation of key infrastructure assets, non-medical personal protective equipment and agricultural chemicals.

Want to stay up to date on all things IFAM? Email airfreight@austrade.gov.au to sign up to our mailing list now.

Where can I find out more about protecting my intellectual property (IP), trademark and/or design?

Australia’s trade agreements include IP chapters that facilitate trade and investment. Understanding IP protection can help you establish your market position and ensure you don’t infringe on existing IP in that country.

As soon as you have identified the foreign markets you wish to trade in, you need to decide whether to file separate IP applications in those countries directly or make use of international agreements, which allow you to seek protection in several countries at once.

IP Australia has developed a suite of tools to guide you through the process from choosing the right IP to taking your IP global.

Where can I find out about the status of international travel and/or apply to travel overseas?

Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident you cannot leave Australia unless you have an exemption. For more information and to apply for an exemption, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

All Australian travellers should also visit the Smartraveller website, which provides current information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about travel safety in overseas countries and general advice for safe travel.

The Australian Government does not issue visas for overseas travel and cannot provide definitive information on visas. The government of the country you plan to visit can provide up-to-date information about their visa requirements.

Where can I find the recordings of the FTA digital seminars?

You can access the recordings of the FTA digital seminars from the FTA Seminars webpage.

To learn more about FTAs and how to use them - Sign up now to the Free Trade Advantage to access the extensive range of resources to help Australian businesses take advantage of the benefits of Australia’s FTAs.