This study is completed. The final research report was released on 13 December 2010.
On 27 November 2009, the Australian Government requested that the Productivity Commission undertake a study into the impact of bilateral and regional trade agreements on trade and investment barriers, and on Australia's trade and economic performance, including their contribution to efforts to boost Australia's engagement in the evolving regional economic architecture.
In undertaking the study, the Commission was to consider a broad range of issues, including the:
contribution of bilateral and regional trade agreements to reducing trade and investment barriers and safeguarding against the introduction of new barriers
role of such agreements in lending support to the international trading system and the World Trade Organization
potential for trade agreements to facilitate adjustment to global economic developments and to promote regional integration
impact of trade agreements on Australia's trade and economic performance, in particular any impact on trade flows, unilateral reform, behind-the-border barriers, investment returns and productivity growth
scope for Australia's trade agreements to reduce trade and investment barriers of trading partners or to promote structural reform and productivity growth in partner countries.
In the course of the study, the Commission consulted widely with the business sector, government agencies and other interested parties.