The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

Wednesday, 13 April 2005 - MVT27/2005

Time is Right to Enter into FTA Negotiations with China

Trade Minister Mark Vaile predicted Australia will achieve its highest export figure on record this financial year, predominantly due to the emergence of China as a major industrialised power.

Speaking at today’s launch of the 2005 Trade Statement at the National Press Club, Mr Vaile said that Australia must look at strengthening its trading relationship with China further.

 “I believe the time is right for Australia to move into free trade negotiations with China,” Mr Vaile said.

“Australia must be at the front of the queue in this market. The Chinese economy grows stronger by the day and Australia simply cannot afford to be left behind.

Mr Vaile said any negotiation with China will be both difficult and challenging.

“Regardless of the outcome of any negotiation, our robust and healthy relationship will continue to grow.”

Mr Vaile said the Government’s forward-looking agenda on free trade agreements also ensured that Australia did not miss out on opportunities created by its major trading partners pursuing FTAs with other countries.

 “In 2004, Australia’s exports reached $152.5 billion, one of the highest levels on record,” Mr Vaile said.

In delivering his address, Mr Vaile also emphasised the importance of a successful conclusion of the Doha Round of trade talks in the World Trade Organization and that it remained the Government’s number one trade priority.

“Let the collective WTO membership be on notice that 2005 is the time to demonstrate commitment to genuine and ambitious reform of the global trading system,” Mr Vaile said.

“Trade is a crucial means through which we will secure our future prosperity.  Around 70 per cent of our agricultural produce and around 80 per cent of our resources are exported. 

“One in every five Australian jobs is linked to exports.”

The 2005 Trade Statement reports on the Government’s trade achievements in the past year.

Trade 2005 is accompanied by a CDROM containing additional trade resources, including Economic Analytical Unit publications. The statement is also posted on the DFAT website

Contact: Richard Forbes (Vaile's office) 02 6277 7420

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