Australia and China marked another milestone in history as leaders of both countries signed the free trade agreement on Wednesday, June 17, in Canberra after more than ten years of negotiations, according to the news.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was joined by China’s Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and the latter’s team and congratulated everyone involved in negotiations.
The prime minister described what just transcribed as a “momentous and historic day” for the two countries and assured the free trade agreement will cause mutual changes for betterment not only for the two countries, but also for the region and for the world.
“This agreement will give our nations unprecedented access to each other’s market,” Mr. Abbott was quoted by ABC.
“We seize this opportunity of more trade and more investment with China and we complete a trifecta of trade with our major trading partners, not only China but also Japan and South Korea,” the Australian leader quipped.
Meanwhile, the Chinese minister said respective leaders of the countries placed importance in signing of the agreement which is a “milestone in bilateral relations.”
In order to take effect, however, the agreement must be ratified by the Parliament. Under current terms, Australia exports more than 85 percent tariff-free. Upon the effectivity of the free trade agreement, the exportation of tariff-free goods will rise to 95 percent as Australia maintains similar agreements with South Korea and Japan.
Abbott’s administration said among the tariffs that shall be abolished within years are those imposed on dairy, seafood and beef. Australian businesses are currently charged with as much as 40 percent on goods exported to China. Also, the free trade will abrogate entirely China’s tariff charges against Australian energy products and resources.
In exchange, Australia will eradicate existing five percent of tariff charges imposed on Chinese white goods and electronics, indicating that Australian will soon enjoy cheaper merchandises but will suffer a decrease in revenues, said the news.
Bangkok Post quoted Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb who said the agreement will literally see “billions of dollars, thousands, many hundreds of thousands of jobs and will underpin a lot of our prosperity in the years ahead.”