Business / Economy

Chinese ambassador urges Australia not to let China-Australia FTA slip away

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-30 11:09

CANBERRA -- Chinese Ambassador to Australia Ma Zhaoxu urges Australia not to let China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) slip away in an opinion piece published on influential newspaper The Australian on Tuesday.

Marking the 100th day of the official signing of the deal on June 17, the ambassador hailed ChAFTA as a "comprehensive, high- quality and balanced agreement," and "a milestone in our bilateral ties, marking a historic high in strengthening political trust and practical co-operation."

"ChAFTA is a win-win agreement for three reasons. It will lend fresh impetus to trade growth. It will create new opportunities to expand two-way investment. And it will open up new horizons for people-to-people exchanges," Ma says in the article.

"The sooner ChAFTA comes into force, the quicker it will benefit producers and consumers in both countries. It represents a hard-won and historic opportunity that should not be allowed to slip through our fingers."

The ambassador quotes an example given by Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb about Blackmores, an Australian health product company, which saw its sales to China skyrocket to AU$75 million ($52 million) this year from just AU$2 million ($1.5 million) the previous year.

"But that may be just like a peanut starter before a meal, if one thinks about a world of difference ChAFTA will make after it comes into force. Then, tariffs as high as 35 percent for Blackmores' exports to China will be completely removed, and the company foresees a further tenfold increase in its sales to Chinese consumers."

Ma notes that Chinese President Xi Jinping has just paid a historic state visit to the United States. The cooperation between China and the United States will serve as an anchor of global stability and propeller of world peace.

"The whole Asia-Pacific region stands to gain from stronger China-US cooperation, Australia in particular," Ma says. "As important countries in the Asia-Pacific, China, the US and Australia are partners, not rivals. We have a common responsibility to promote regional peace, stability and prosperity. We cannot deliver on this goal unless we work together focusing on our common interests rather than those distracting differences."

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