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Australia-China FTA negotiations will resume in Beijing.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office (Joseph Kerr, Media Adviser) 02 6277 7420

or 0438654 318 Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC048 13 June 2008

AUSTRALIA-CHINA FTA NEGOTATIONS RESUME IN BEIJING

Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations will resume in Beijing on 16 June.

This is the first round of the Australia-China talks to be conducted by the Rudd Government. It follows the “unfreezing” of negotiations following separate visits to China in April by the Prime Minister, and the Minister for Trade, Simon Crean.

“This will be an important round for negotiators to re-engage on working towards a comprehensive, high-quality FTA,” said Mr Crean.

“Negotiations will continue across all areas including agriculture, manufactures, services, resources and intellectual property. In addition, as agreed in April, time has been set aside for discussion of early outcomes.”

“Australia will pursue early outcomes in services, an area where Australia has particular strengths and where Australian companies encounter a range of behind the border barriers to trade and investment.”

China is Australia's largest trading partner with two-way trade (imports and exports of both goods and services) of $58 billion in 2007. This is the 11th round of formal FTA negotiations and the first since October 2007.

“There is no doubt negotiations will continue to be challenging as this is China’s first FTA with a country that has trade interests across the board, covering services, agriculture, resources and manufactures,” said Mr Crean.

“Given the competitiveness of China’s industries, there are also sensitivities on the Australian side that will need to be addressed”.

“While Australia recognises much work lies ahead, this is a great opportunity for us to create new opportunities for further growth in trade between Australia and China.”