CANBERRA (Xinhua) – Australia and China are set to complete a second, multi-billion dollar trade deal within a week, reaching an agreement to lift exports and cut the price of some consumer goods.
The announcement comes as a historic free-trade agreement between the two countries grows ever closer, with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirming on Monday she was “optimistic” that a deal will come to fruition in the coming days.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping will finalise the new agreement next week at the G20 summit, which is expected to inject in excess of 15 billion US dollars into Australia’s economy over the next decade.
Tariffs will be removed from Australia’s biggest mineral and energy exports as a result of the new deal, while food producers will benefit from an increase in horticulture exports.
Australian legal, design and financial firms will also have increased access to Chinese markets and, in turn, Chinese investors will have a greater influence on the Australian share market due to relaxed investment rules.
The news comes as Bishop announced free trade agreements with Beijing were reaching a conclusion.
Australia has been in long-term negotiations with China regarding an agreement and, following 130 billion US dollar worth of two-way trade in the last financial year, an official announcement is expected imminently.
“It’s looking very positive,” Bishop told Fairfax Media. “(Trade minister) Andrew Robb assures me that the areas of negotiation have narrowed significantly, so we are quite optimistic, but there’s not an agreement until everything’s agreed.”
“They’re continuing to negotiate and I believe that some considerable progress has been made of recent days, so we will obviously push for as early an agreement as we’re able to get.”