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Monday, November 17, 2014, 15:34

China, Australia seal FTA deal

By Xinhua
China, Australia seal FTA deal

China’s President Xi Jinping (left), and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speak at a press conference following the signing of several memorandums of understanding to strengthen trade in Canberra, Nov 17, 2014. (AP Photo / Rick Rycroft)

CANBERRA - China and Australia on Monday signed a declaration of intent on practically concluding bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).

According to the results of the nine-year-long talks, Australia will eventually remove tariffs on all goods imported from China, and a vast majority of Australian products will enter China tariff-free.

As regards investment, the pair agreed to grant each other the most favored nation status once the FTA takes effect. They will greatly lower the review thresholds for corporate investment, and increase market access opportunities, predictability and transparency for such investment.

The two sides also committed themselves to opening up numerous service sectors to each other with high quality.

The China-Australia FTA will be another comprehensive, high-level free trade deal China has finalized with a major economy in the Asia-Pacific region. A week ago, Beijing and Seoul announced the conclusion of their substantive FTA talks.

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott witnessed the signing of the declaration of intent by Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb.

The China-Australia FTA will cover more than 10 areas, including trade in goods and services, investment and trade rules, as well as such subjects as e-commerce and government procurement.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the China-Australia FTA talks have realized the goal of comprehensiveness, high quality and balance of interests.

The signing of the FTA will complement each other's economic advantages, boost win-win cooperation, bring mutual benefits and promote the in-depth development of bilateral economic and trade ties, said the ministry. 

Wine makers, currently selling more than A$200 million worth of goods to China each year despite tariffs of between 14 and 30 per cent, will also see tariffs eliminated over four years, it reported.

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