Aus­tralian trade min­is­ter vis­its for FTA, APEC talks

China Daily (Canada) - - ADVERTISEMENT - By XIN­HUA

Aus­tralian trade min­is­ter An­drew Robb departs for China to at­tend the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion meet­ings in Beijing and to hold high-level talks on a free trade agree­ment with China, the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade said on Thurs­day.

Dur­ing his visit, Robb is ex­pected to meet with key Chi­nese coun­ter­parts for talks to ad­vance ne­go­ti­a­tions for the FTA with Aus­tralia’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner.

“After almost a decade, the FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions have now reached an ad­vanced stage, but there are crit­i­cal is­sues still to be worked through if we are to ful­fill our ob­jec­tive of a sat­is­fac­tory con­clu­sion this year, and mak­ing fur­ther pos­i­tive progress will be a pri­mary fo­cus ofmy visit,” Robb was quoted as say­ing.

Robb will par­tic­i­pate in an APEC min­is­te­rial meet­ing on Nov 7- 8.

APEC is an im­por­tant eco­nomic fo­rum in the Asia Pa­cific with 21 economies ac­count­ing for 58 per­cent of global GDP and more than two-thirds of Aus­tralia’s trade in goods and ser­vices. The min­is­te­rial meet­ing fol­lowed by the APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’MeetingonNov 10-11 pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to re­view the fo­rum’s trade and eco­nomic work and to con­sider chal­lenges fac­ing mem­ber economies.

Robb said APEC of­fers a plat­form to high­light the im­por­tance of get­ting the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Agree­ment back on track.

“APEC has a good record on trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion and is well-placed to demon­strate the ben­e­fits for business of theWTOa­gree­ment,” he said.

This year, Aus­tralia has led work on a num­ber of APEC ini­tia­tives in line with the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties.

“We have pro­moted the open­ing of ser­vices mar­kets to make global value chains more ef­fi­cient and sup­ported re­forms to en­able the faster and cheaper move­ment of Aus­tralian goods within re­gional sup­ply chains,” Robb said.

As host of the G20 sum­mit later this month, Aus­tralia has also worked closely with 2014 APEC host China to en­sure that the like-minded ap­proach Aus­tralia and China take to the work pro­grams of the two fo­rums trans­lates into prac­ti­cal out­comes for business.

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