Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and Australian Minister of Trade and Investment Andrew Robb respectively represented the governments of the two countries and officially signed the Free Trade Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Australia in the National Gallery in Canberra, Australia on the morning of June 17 and addressed. The Premier of Australia Tony Abott attended and addressed the signing ceremony.

Gao said in his speech that the official signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is a landmark event in the development of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The leaders of the two countries pay close attention to it. One of the common topics in many talks among President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Premier Abott is to push the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations to progress. It is because of the promotion of the leaders of the two countries that the free trade agreement negotiations between China and Australia beginning in 2005 finally made a breakthrough in 2014 and the negotiations were jointly affirmed and the essential ending was announced by Premier Abott and President Xi during President Xi’s visit in Australia in November.

Gao pointed out that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement realized the common goal of comprehensive, high-quality free trade agreement reached by the two sides with balanced interests. It has been one of the free trade agreements signed by China so far with the highest level of trade and investment liberalization and it will establish a more open, more convenient and more standardized institutional arrangement for the trade and investment of the two countries to “strive for further improvement “. It will also vigorously promote the bilateral trade and economic cooperation to develop in a comprehensive and profound way and continuously provide the strong power for the economic growth of the two countries.

Gao said that China is the largest developing country in the world and Australia is a developed country with great influence. Both are important economies in the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world, the pioneer and the practitioner of the trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement not only makes a big difference in the construction of free trade zones and trade and investment liberalization of the two countries, but also jointly develops the initiative for Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” and docks with the policy conception of “for Asia” of Australia. This agreement will certainly promote the economic integration process of Asia-Pacific region and play a positive role in expanding the common interests and moving towards a common destiny of all regional members.

Abott said in his speech that today is one of the most important days in the histories of the two countries and we jointly witness the historical moment of the official signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement creates the unprecedented opportunities for the development of the two countries and brings tangible benefits for the enterprises and the peoples of the two countries. It is a mile stone of the friendship for the people of both countries, marking that the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia is improved to a new level. This agreement not only has a significant meaning for the two countries, but also exerts profound influence for the Asia-Pacific region and even the whole world. It is my great honor to receive the congratulatory letter from President Xi Jinping who is a good friend of Australian. I also ask Minister Gao Hucheng to deliver the congratulatory letter for President Xi Jinping to express my own best wishes.

Robb spoke highly of the official signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in his address.

After the signing ceremony, the business circles of China and Australia held the luncheon party on the spot and jointly celebrated the official signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. More than 200 people such as Chinese Ambassador in Australia Ma Zhaoxu and the Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen attended the above activities.

Approved by:MINISTRY OF COMMERCE,PRC     Supported by:China International Electronic Commerce Center