Aus­tralia bank­ing on free trade deal with China

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By ZHONG NAN in Hangzhou zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Around A$25 bil­lion ($18.93 bil­lion) will be added to the Aus­tralian econ­omy in the next two decades through trade agree­ments with China, Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn bull said on Sun­day.

Aus­tralia is ded­i­cated to im­ple­ment­ing the bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment with China and will con­tinue to wel­come Chi­nese in­vest­ment, Turn­bull said at the B20 Sum­mit in Hangzhou.

“We’ve al­ready gained many div­i­dends from the FTA signed last year,” he said.

The B20 pro­vides a plat­form for in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies and cham­bers of com­merce to par­tic­i­pate in global eco­nomic gov­er­nance, as well as eco­nomic and trade reg­u­la­tion, through meet­ings that col­lect the opin­ions of world busi­ness lead­ers and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the G20 lead­ers.

Turn­bull em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of FTAs, es­pe­cially for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, as he said trade pro­tec­tion­ism and iso­la­tion­ism will hin­der trade flows and global in­vest­ment.

G20 trade min­is­ters have said they are com­mit­ted to rat­i­fy­ing a trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion agree­ment by the end of this year.

Re­search by the Or­ga­ni­za­tions for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment shows full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment could cut trade costs by more than 10 per­cent for OECD coun­tries and by 12.5 to 17.5 per­cent glob­ally.

Ning Gaon­ing, chair­man of the B20’s trade and in­vest­ment task force and chair­man of Sinochem Group, said more ports, ware­houses and lo­gis­tics fa­cil­i­ties needed to be built to stim­u­late global trade.

China and Aus­tralia signed an FTA in June last year. Un­der the deal, tar­iffs on 95 per­cent of Aus­tralian ex­ports have been lifted, while ob­sta­cles will be re­moved to al­low more Chi­nese busi­nesses to in­vest in the coun­try. Aus­tralian visa poli­cies have also been re­laxed for Chi­nese vis­i­tors.

China is al­ready Aus­tralia’s largest ex­port mar­ket, with com­modi­ties, nat­u­ral re­sources and agri­cul­tural prod­ucts top­ping the list of ex­ports.

The goods and ser­vices trade be­tween China and Aus­tralia amounted to A$155.5 bil­lion last year, grow­ing 2 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to the China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade.

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