Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney
China trade talks ’very pleasing’: Crean
20 November 20, 2009
AAP. Australia’s breakthrough with China on another round of negotiations on a free trade agreement after a 12 month lag is "very pleasing", Trade Minister Simon Crean says.
However, Mr Crean has warned the negotiations aren’t yet completed.
The next meeting with Chinese officials is in Canberra in February, Mr Crean told Sky News.
"There’s been a frank discussion at the political level that we need to progress this in a way that brings it to a conclusion," Mr Crean said.
But the trade minister wouldn’t commit to a time frame for when the FTA would be agreed to.
"I’m patient, we’re a patient government but we’re a persistent government."
However, he said it was important that the Chinese saw the importance of the economic relationship with Australia.
"But it’s not just China that’s of benefit to Australia. The whole of the Asian region is of benefit to Australia’s growth in the moment."
Australia has already signed free trade agreements with all ten ASEAN countries, and that was important for the nation’s future prospects, he said.