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Chinese Consul General Dr.Huang Qinguo's speech at China-Australia Free Trade Agreement(CHAFTA) Seminar
2015/06/24

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

It is my great pleasure to attend today's CHAFTA (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement) Seminar jointly hosted by ACBC, DFAT and Austrade. First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Perth , to extend my congratulations to the seminar. I wish today's seminar a great success.

Consul General Dr.Huang Qinguo delivers a speech at China Australia Free Trade Agreement (CHAFTA) Seminar

After 21 rounds of negotiations over the past 10 years, the CHAFTA was finally signed last week, marking the two countries have formally entered a new era of FTA. The CHAFTA has covered a wide range of areas including trade in goods and services, investment and many others, and it has reached the goal of "comprehensiveness, high quality and balance of interests". It is also one of the highest-level FTAs that China has signed with other countries in terms of trade and investment liberalization. China and Australia are important economic entities both in Asia pacific region and in the world . The signing of CHAFTA will not only serve as an engine for bilateral trade and economic cooperation, but also a catalyst for Asia pacific economic integration. Recently, there are overwhelming reports on CHAFTA through various medias, and I believe most of you have got quite a lot of understanding of it. Here I would like to share with you my thoughts on the impacts of CHAFTA that would bring to the trade and investment, and the livelihood of our two countries and two peoples.

Firstly, the CHAFTA will further stimulate the growth of bilateral trade. The China-Australia trade relationships have gained fundamental groundings over decades of development. According to statistics, the trade volume between Australia and China solely is even larger than the volume between Australia and its second, third and forth trading partner as a whole. Upon the signing of the agreement, China and Australia will make a series of wide ranging and high quality promises on market access, the trade threshold would be further lowered, more open, more convenient and more standard institutional arrangements would be established. With the injection of these new energy and vitality, our future trade would be uplifted to a new level. According to CHAFTA, the products which shall enjoy zero tariff instantly accounts for 85.4% of the import value for both sides, and it's estimated that the bilateral trade growth will exceed 16 billion US Dollars, accounting for 10% of our annual trade volume, thanks to the CHAFTA.

Secondly, the CHAFTA would further promote the investment facilitation. As CHAFTA takes effect, China and Australia will offer MFN (most-favored-nation) treatment to each other in the area of investment, and the limitation of investment would be eased substantially, the FIRB's review limit for Chinese enterprises investment would raise from 252 million AUD to nearly 1.1 billion AUD, which is equal to the US, Japanese and Korean enterprises. This would undoubtedly increase the market access, the predictability and transparency of bilateral investment. Currently, China is undergoing the New Normal of economic development. We are striving to build a new type of open economy by adjusting the industrial structure and promoting innovation. With the evolution of the mineral industry, Australia is also actively carrying forward economic transformation and structural adjustment, one of the evidence is the release of "Developing the Northern Territory" Strategy. The China and Australia are highly complementary in economy, and our enterprises are also in high spirit of mutual investment. We believe that both countries could make good use of FTA to promote the industry connection and cooperation, as well as industry upgrading.

Thirdly, the CHAFTA would bring concrete benefits to our people. After taking effect, CHAFTA will bring the two people substantial convenience and benefits. The Chinese qualified and cheap products, such as textile, clothing, and electronics will become more common in Australian household. Chinese

consumers, meanwhile, will have greater access to goods such as Australian beef, dairy products, wine as well as seafood with lower price. Just like Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng's answer to Abbott's question, FTA means that Chinese people will enjoy more beef, better wine from Australia. In addition, according to CHAFTA, Australia will offer China youth holiday work visas as well as immigration quotas for specialty occupations. It is a highlight in service sector, and will greatly facilitate people-to-people communication and exchange between the two sides.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The signing of CHAFTA is a milestone for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. In recent years, China Australia economic and trade cooperation have developed rapidly with the scale of trade and investment continuously expanding. In 2014, the bilateral trade volume reached 136.9 billion US dollars, 16 times the size of the year 2000. By the end of 2014, the accumulated investment from China to Australia amounted to 74.9 billion US dollars. Now Australia is the second largest destination, after Hong Kong, for China's overseas investment. The FTA will create significant opportunities for improving bilateral economic and trade cooperation, promoting economic complementary advantage, boosting mutually beneficial development as well as promoting the well-being of the two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Australia-China relationships are in the best period in history. With the Signing of FTA and promoting of "One Belt One Road" initiative, it would bring substantial opportunities for China-Australia cooperation. Today's investment seminar is a very good opportunity. I am looking forward to listening to the views and perspectives from Australian government and industry. I sincerely hope that China and Australia can take full advantage of new opportunities in FTA and work together to boost mutually beneficial cooperation and embrace win-win results in the future.

Thank you!

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