Australian Prime Minister Plans Trade Delegation to China in 2014

Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 07:50 AM

By Robert Brothers

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently told President Xi Jinping that China’s growth and strength was “a benefit to the world, not a challenge,” according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Abbott and Xi met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali late Sunday night. At the meeting Xi congratulated Abbott on his election, and said he appreciated the prime minister’s “positive attitude” on growing the Australia-China relationship.

“I also firmly believe that as important countries in the Asia Pacific region, China and Australia entering into closer co-operation not only serves the interests of both our countries but will also add positive energy to the region,” Xi said.

Furthermore, Xi has invited Abbott to visit China next year and the prime minister plans to have a large government and trade delegation accompany him.

“We have a strong relationship,” Abbott noted, “it’s my fervent hope it will become even stronger in the months ahead.”

The prime minister attributed much of Australia’s prosperity to the rapidly growing trade relations with China. Both Abbott and Xi expressed strong commitments to rejuvenate the stalled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two countries.
 
The FTA has been under negotiations since 2002 and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb on Saturday described the negotiations to The Australian as “stalled.”

Abbott is also committed to further growing the relationship between Australia and China through cultural, scientific, and academic links.

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