New laws that allow South Pacific countries to export certain clothing, footwear and textiles products into Australia duty-free were put into place today.

The legislation, which will last until December 2011, is part of the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No1) 2005.

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard announced last August that the duty-free law would be extended for countries that come under the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (Sparteca).

A previous agreement governing exports expired in December last year.

Sparteca has 14 member countries including Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The cost of extending the legislation is anticipated to total approximately AUD1.2 million annually.