The Point: ChAFTA secures increase in China-Australia trade
Updated 18:39, 09-Nov-2018
CGTN's The Point
China has put the US' protectionism and disruptive trading practices aside, resolving to open up its economy as an “elective” global leadership in free trade, suggested a former trade minister of an American ally.
“This is a very strong signal to the world,” Andrew Robb, Australia's former Minister for Trade and Investment, told CGTN's The Point (@thepointwithlx). He highlighted China's steadfast promotion of globalization and free trade, despite the US “reverting back to protectionism and disrupting supply chains.”
Robb's remarks came during his attendance of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, which the former Liberal Party member describes as an “auspicious occasion” for the 172 countries, regions, and international organizations attending the event.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday made a keynote speech at the CIIE's opening, calling for strengthening opening up and cooperation, as economic globalization is an "irreversible historical trend."
About 120 Australian companies with more than 150 brands are exhibiting at the CIIE this year.
“It provides an opportunity for Australia to showcase so much of what free trade makes possible,” said Robb, citing the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) that he negotiated. He added that the expo also represents “wider significance” globally.
China Pavilion at CIIE in Shanghai, November 5, 2018./ VCG Photo

China Pavilion at CIIE in Shanghai, November 5, 2018./ VCG Photo

Although countries within the G20 rarely sign bilateral trade agreements, China and Australia signed the ChAFTA in 2015. Canberra said the agreement has enhanced Australia's “competitive position in the Chinese market, boosting economic growth and creating jobs.”
The ChAFTA deal has since created a “phenomenal” 37 percent increase in trade, especially in the agricultural industry, Robb said. He noted that Chinese exports to its seven biggest trading partners will enjoy zero tariffs due to the deal starting 2019.
The “groundbreaking” trade deal has also buoyed more Australian services exports to China as a developing country, Robb added.
China has advanced its opening up to develop its services economy, as the country's services sector reform has been going slowly in traditional areas such as public education and healthcare.
“China opened up to so many services in health, education, and water management…in hundreds of areas,” Robb said, adding that these areas are Australia's particular strength, expecting “enthusiasm” over further opportunities at home.
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