Australian trade minister visits for FTA, APEC talks
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.