Australia's trade minister champions FTA with China, sees terrific opportunities for B&R Initiative

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-02 15:46:32|Editor: Xiang Bo
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By Levi J Parsons

SYDNEY, June 2 (Xinhua) -- It's been 18 months since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) took effect and Australia's Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Friday the accord has been an overwhelming success.

The minister said the accord brought large amounts of new jobs and opportunities to the people of Australia. Since the free trade agreement, exports from both countries have steadily increased.

"The agreement is working in both our interests and producing win-win outcomes," Ciobo said.

Emphasising that, along with Australia's major mineral exports, opportunities for industry in newer areas such as education and training services were thriving for Aussie businesses.

"Australia has a world class standard when it comes to vocational education and training, as well as areas such as aged care," Ciobo said.

"It's a great additional service export for Australia, and it's also a very good import of knowledge and a technology transfer for China."

Another area the minister was particularly excited about was the new opportunities for Australian agricultural products such as wines, which have seen a 38 percent rise in exports to China since the deal.

"The relationship between Australian and China has started to reach some of its full potential, and in many respects this is because of ChAFTA," Ciobo said.

"Free trade means more opportunity for Australian businesses and employees."

Tourism industries, both in China and Australia have also won big in the last year and a half.

"We are seeing really strong investment in tourism infrastructure and that's terrific news," Ciobo said.

"China is our biggest tourism market and the opportunities are very rich, there are more tourists staying longer and spending more than they ever have before, which is good news for our people to people link and grows the friendship of both countries."

"Because what I am focused on is making sure that China and also ethnic Chinese here in Australia understand how much we value and appreciate the contribution they have had to this great country and to our relationship."

Fresh off his visit to last month's Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, the minister also told Xinhua the trip was "very good" and that he was keen to put more "meat on the bone" with respect to the Belt and Road Initiative.

"I think there are terrific opportunities for Australia and China to work together," Ciobo said.