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China-Australia free trade talks progress

China-Australia free trade talks progress article image
Free trade negotiations between Australia and China are expected to progress smoothly after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and China's Executive Vice Premier Li Keqiang met in Canberra last week. The discussion centred on ironing out Australia and China's recent relationship issues, but then progressed to the forthcoming negotiations for an Australia-China free trade agreement. Both agreed to seek a conclusion as "rapidly as possible," according to a statement released from Rudd's office. Li was quoted as saying negotiations would advance "with a sense of urgency". The statement also revealed Australia's welcoming stance towards Chinese investment and vice versa: "Australia sees China's increased investment interest as a positive development that will further consolidate the Australia-China economic relationship. China also sees great scope for increased Australian investment in China." The talks also approached having greater engagement between senior politicians of both countries: "The two sides will sustain and enhance their dialogue, engagement and cooperation at all levels, including the senior leadership level, to advance the comprehensive relationship which is developing between the two countries. "Further communication and an understanding of how indispensable each side is to the other are the only ways to stabilise relations. China needs to understand the importance of Australia and its special nature."

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