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China-Australia trade agreement a compromised victory

Wilson, J.D. (2015) China-Australia trade agreement a compromised victory. The Conversation, 18 June 2015 .

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After ten years of marathon negotiations, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) was signed in Canberra this week. Australia now has an FTA with its number one trade partner, becoming one of the few developed economies (Singapore, Korea and New Zealand) to have signed agreements with China.

Negotiating ChAFTA has proven exceptionally fraught. Launched amid much fanfare in 2005, reaching mutually agreeable terms proved harder than expected. Twenty-two rounds of negotiation were required, talks “stalled” on several occasions and at one point the then trade minister, Craig Emerson, described the FTA as “overrated”. Many in the Australian business and policy communities will be relieved the agreement is finally concluded.

The Abbott government has described ChAFTA as “history making” and put considerable effort into spruiking the many gains it will offer for Australian exporters.

But the deal is what’s known as a “positive list” trade agreement, which puts certain limits on the benefits it offers Australian industry.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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