China free trade talks to resume
The next round of free trade negotiations between Australia and China has been scheduled for February 2010, more than a year after they stalled in December 2008. Agricultural obstacles and issues over services were blamed for the earlier impasse.
“They weren’t prepared to deal seriously on their sensitive issues, agriculture and services. Theirs is an economy that’s not well developed on services, and we’re a very well developed economy on services and we’re saying it’s got to be a comprehensive FTA,” said Minister for Trade Simon Crean. “They’ve now agreed that the meeting will proceed in February on the basis there will be serious discussion on these issues. That’s a significant breakthrough.”
The Australian government has marked the resumption of FTA negotiations as a good sign that Australia-China relations are back on track.
Crean met his Chinese counterpart Chen Deming on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Singapore last week to arrange the FTA deal.