AusBN – A free trade agreement between China and Australia has been signed by the two countries.
It is hoped that the agreement will increase market access for Australian beef and wine exporters and give Chinese carmarkers and electronics producers access to the Australian market.
Negotiations on the agreement were concluded in 2014 but it was formally signed this week by Australia’s trade minister and China’s commerce minister.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbot said that he believes the agreement would give the two countries “unprecedented access to each other’s markets.”
He added: “It removes barriers to Australian agricultural exports across a range of products, including beef, dairy, lamb, wine, horticulture and seafood.
“It means duty-free entry for 99.9% of our resources, energy and manufacturing exports within four years.
“But it’s about so much more than just exporting more and reducing tariffs. Australian services providers, financial, education, health and aged care will have new access to China’s services sector, a sector that is already the largest contributor to China’s GDP and is set to drive economic growth in coming years.
“For China, this agreement liberalises the screening threshold for Chinese private sector investment in Australia and it puts Chinese businesses in the same position as those of our other major trading partners.
“And of course it means that Australian consumers will pay less for cars, for clothes, for electronics and other goods imported from China.”
The full text of the agreement is still subject to inquiry by parliament’s joint standing committee on treaties.