AAP | November 10, 2006
Australia and Chile to develop FTA
Australia and Chile have agreed to develop a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and Trade Minister Warren Truss held separate meetings with Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley in Canberra.
Mr Downer said he had been impressed with Chile’s proposal to develop an expanded and more strategic relationship between the two countries.
"We believe it is in the interests of both countries to strengthen and diversify our economic relations and co-operation," Mr Downer said.
"For that reason, we have undertaken to commence the necessary steps towards a high quality and comprehensive bilateral Free Trade Agreement."
Business will be consulted as part of the process.
Chile is Australia’s fourth largest trading partner in Latin America. Around 120 Australian companies trade with Chile and 70 have a presence there.
With investments worth $2.78 billion and growing, Australia is Chile’s fifth largest investor. Chile has more than $680 million invested in Australia.
Mr Truss said the two countries had also agreed to strengthen political dialogue.