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Published On: Sat, Nov 1st, 2014

Australia, China eye concluding FTA talks

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — Australia and China will discuss concluding the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) next week in Beijing, Australian Ambassador to China Frances J. Adamson said on Friday.

Adamson told reporters in her embassy that Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb would “seek discussions with his Chinese counterpart to conclude outstanding issues in the FTA negotiation” during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting.

Robb and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will travel to Beijing for the APEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 7 to 8, ahead of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s presence at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Nov. 10 and 11, the ambassador said.

Australia is a strong supporter of trade liberalization and finished FTA talks with the Republic of Korea and Japan earlier this year, she said, expecting a FTA deal with China to be signed this year.

The Australia-China FTA, if successfully concluded, will mean substantial gains through liberalizing market access, she said.

Initiated in 2005, FTA talks between Australia and China have been through 21 rounds so far. If a deal is signed, it would give Australian agricultural produce easier access to the enormous Chinese market.

China is Australia’s largest trade partner and biggest export market, while Australia is Chins’ largest overseas investment destination.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade reached 136 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, up 11.5 percent from 2012.

Source:  Xinhua    

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