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China's Xi reignites Aussie zeal for FTA

Updated: 2013-10-11 10:48
( Xinhua)

SYDNEY - Chinese President Xi Jinping has reinvigorated Australian enthusiasm for a free trade agreement ( FTA) in landmark talks last week with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. With a 12 month timeline and a mountain of issues, Australian experts agree that despite the challenges, the view from the top will be well worth the climb.

Wallowing in disillusion after almost 20 rounds of roadblocks and missteps, Xi and Abbott's statements of intent for a working FTA has been applauded across industries and party lines in Australia.

Abbott was effusive in his approach to bilateral trade "as comprehensive as possible" on Monday after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Despite domestic tremors, Abbott has signaled the way forward. While APEC itself revealed just how much China's free-trade leadership has sparked regional economic zeal.

The ducks are finally in a row for China's regional engagement through a liberalizing, multi-lateral trade network.

"The president made it clear to me how much foreign investment China hopes to make in coming years, and I want Australia to get a fair share of that foreign investment because that foreign investment will be good for jobs, it will be good for economic activity," Abbott said.

China has seemingly taken the initiative at the 21st economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), leaving the unproven value-adding of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its wake.

Chinese representatives have been at the heart of discussions driving regional trade liberalization, facilitation and integration of multiple free trade agreements in Asia and the Pacific.

China described the APEC summit as a supporting structure for multilateral trade, before setting foot in Bali, fast-tracking prioritization of multiple, genuine free trade zones in the Asia- Pacific.

Australia is certainly hungry for the completion of an FTA that has made little headway over almost ten years, joining China in the effort to create the necessary conditions for a united Asia- Pacific FTA.

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