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Australia hopes Asia-Pacific trade deal will improve ties with China: report

CommoditiesNov 14, 2020 07:30PM ET
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© Reuters. Australia's Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham gestures as he speaks during a signing ceremony with Indonesia's Trade Minister in Jakarta

By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia hopes that an ambitious trade deal to be signed on Sunday between 15 Asia-Pacific economies will help improve the country's strained relations with China, Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said.

The China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal to be signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could become the world's largest free trade agreement.

Covering nearly a third of the global population and about 30% of its global gross domestic product, the deal will progressively lower tariffs and aims to counter protectionism, boost investment and allow freer movement of goods within the region.

Australia's ties with China, its biggest trading partner, became frayed after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the source of the novel coronavirus, which erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Trade disputes have hit a dozen Australian industries and threatened exports to China of agricultural products, timber and resources worth billions of dollars.

The ASEAN pact offers a platform that can lead to a positive change in relations, Birmingham said.

"The ball is very much in China's court to come to the table for that dialogue," Birmingham told The Age newspaper ahead of the conclusion of the ASEAN talks.

"It is crucial that partners like China, as they enter into new agreements like this, deliver not only on the detail of such agreements, but act true to the spirit of them."

Asked earlier this month whether China imposed restrictions on several Australian imports, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the measures taken by China were "legitimate, reasonable and beyond reproach."

Australia hopes Asia-Pacific trade deal will improve ties with China: report
 

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Comments (2)
Gamer Turtle
GamerTurtle Nov 15, 2020 9:52PM ET
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australia and china is never going to get along when it matters, so stop trying. it is not going to work until australia has its own sovereignty.
Coccollo Zac
Coccollo Zac Nov 14, 2020 7:46PM ET
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Intimidating, new way of China approach toward countries even when all World suffer after virus let loose harming US and EU economies. Free trade yes, but...
David David
David9 Nov 14, 2020 7:46PM ET
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Please give examples of how China intimidate anyone....without that, you are just a he said said she said..
Boltzman Knight
Boltzman Knight Nov 14, 2020 7:46PM ET
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and not benefit itself?
David David
David9 Nov 14, 2020 7:46PM ET
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China is well known for their win-win deal. Both sides need to win for a deal. That is how China has always operate...
Coccollo Zac
Coccollo Zac Nov 14, 2020 7:46PM ET
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David David  You can not win if you lose money on year basis. US is losing 450 and EU 180 billion $ per year in US/EU -China trade. Deficit  in last 10 years went up sky rocket and National debt in US and EU countries as well. They manufacture nothing now and they  can relay only on China for products. This is not win-win or what ever. Remember opium wars? Of course not? What will happened in China with manufacturing if of lack of water hits agriculture hard in the world. We can see now what is on in Brasil/Ghana/China. Food riots? This is not win-win or what ever. Remember opium wars? Of course not?
 
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