Please note that this article has been taken directly from The Australian.
CHINESE Premier Li Keqiang has vowed to accelerate a free-trade deal with Australia, significantly raising the prospects of an agreement by the end of the year that could provide a $20 billion boost to the economy.
The Chinese Premier, addressing the National People’s Congress in Beijing, raised the prospect of a deal with Australia being finalised shortly in a speech that will add momentum to the trade talks ahead of Tony Abbott’s visit to China next month.
A deal with Australia’s biggest trading partner would be a boon for the nation’s agricultural exports, such as beef and dairy, and promises to open up lucrative opportunities in financial services, legal affairs, education and telecommunications.
Since winning government in September, the Coalition has moved rapidly to conclude long-running talks on free-trade deals with Australia’s major trading partners China, Japan and South Korea by the end of its first term.
A free-trade deal between Australia and China has been under consideration for eight years but the two countries have failed to find common ground.
The promise to speed up the talks was welcomed by Australian business figures in China, with Shanghai Chamber of Commerce president Peter Arkell saying that a free-trade agreement would create positive benefits between the two countries. The FTA between New Zealand and China has seen two-way trade increase at least fourfold since it was signed nearly six years ago and it is estimated an Australia-China FTA could boost the Australian economy by up to $20bn.
China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and a comprehensive bilateral FTA would improve an already robust economic relationship
Last year, China accounted for 36 per cent of Australia’s goods exports at a total value of $94.5bn, including $52.8bn worth of iron ore and $9.1bn worth of coal. In 2012-13 Australian services exports to China were $6.7bn, comprising mostly tourism exports.
Australia is China’s seventh largest trading partner with trade in goods and services valued at more than $141bn last year. China’s rising middle class is driving demand for key agricultural exports such as red meat and dairy.
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EES Shipping will keep you informed of any more information on these trade talks as they come to hand.
Image credit: chinadailymail.com