CANBERRA: Australia's breakthrough with China on another round of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) after a 12 month lag is "very pleasing", Trade Minister Simon Crean said on Friday.
The next meeting with Chinese officials is in Canberra in February next year, Crean told Sky News.
"There's been a frank discussion at the political level that we need to progress this in a way that brings it to a conclusion," Crean said.
But the trade minister wouldn't commit to a time frame for when the FTA would be agreed to. "I'm patient, we're a patient government but we're a persistent government," he said.
He said not only China is of benefit to Australia, the whole of the Asian region is of benefit to Australia's growth in the moment, Crean said.
Australia has already signed free trade agreements with all the ten ASEAN countries, and that was important for the nation's future prospects, he added.