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China's Xi reignites Aussie zeal for FTA

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

"Australia's A$15 billion international education sector has been missing in action in most of the discussion around the FTA."

Pearcey warned that there needs to be a balance struck between a pragmatic recognition by both governments of the commercial issues involved in student recruitment on the one hand, and Australia's growing network of Chinese research partnerships on the other.

"The removal of barriers to recruiting students in China... would give Australia's fourth largest export earners a bigger seat at the table, and allow them to continue their growing partnerships with recruitment agents and academic partners and provide world-class degrees to feed the rise of the Chinese middle class."

Henry Makeham, founder of the grassroots bilateral youth forum, The Australia China Youth Dialogue, expresses some of the caution felt within Australia's agricultural sector.

"I would argue that Australia should not be hasty in entering into a FTA with China...whilst an FTA would be a political milestone. Would it really be a net economic benefit, especially when many key sectors, such as agriculture, may be off limits on the China side?"

McLaughlin, who has advised and identified investment opportunities throughout the Australian agricultural sector, says Chinese companies can benefit from increased access to Australia's broad-acre farming products and Australia food-safety and supply- chain management expertise, as well as Australia's low production costs.

Meanwhile Australian farmers can benefit from increased access to the Chinese market and to Chinese capital, as well as Chinese experience in large-scale production and vertical integration.

"I would hope that we could achieve something on the service sector too: Australia and China could both gain from increased trade, cooperation and investment in the legal and financial services sectors in particular, as our skills and competitive advantages in these sectors are complementary," he said.

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