An Australian business leader urged both Australia and China to reach a bilateral free trade agreement covering all sectors, and trade investment activity.

Frank Tudor, Chairman of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that the free trade agreement must be comprehensive and could include a bilateral investment framework which provides more transparency and reciprocity to companies in both countries.

On 18 April 2005, Australia and China agreed to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following consideration of the joint FTA Feasibility Study. So far, 13 rounds of negotiations on FTA have been conducted but final agreement is still yet to be signed.

Tudor said the ACBC completed two research reports in 2009 to ascertain the benefits of trade and investment under a free trade agreement to both countries. The value over a 20 year period was well over 100 billion AU dollars (92 billion U.S. dollars) to both countries and demonstrably increased GDP for both countries.

Talking about the role of the ACBC in promoting the business between the two countries, Tudor said the Council has continued to promote the strengths of the Chinese economy and the benefits to Australia of increased trade and investment links.

"Our recent Investment Forum brought together more than 400 leaders from across government and the business community to discuss major bilateral investment issues," he noted.

He also mentioned that the two-way trade has brought tangible results to the benefits of the two countries, particularly Australia.

In two reports published this year, the ACBC found that trade directly benefits ordinary Australian families by more than 3400 AU dollars (3128 U.S. dollars) per annum and that a successful free trade agreement would deliver a consistent boost of almost one percent to domestic consumption within Australia, he added.

On the future prospect of Sino-Australian relations, Tudor said he was very optimistic about the future relationship. "Our complementary interests as neighbors will ensure that we work through issues and realize peace and prosperity for our region," he concluded.

Founded in 1973, ACBC is the premier business organization in Australia dedicated to promoting business and trade with China.


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