Daily Telegraph, Sydney
Howard cautious on China FTA
21 March 2005
PRIME Minister John Howard said tonight Australia would continue to have strong trade links to China even if a free trade agreement could not be settled.
Mr Howard said he wanted to ensure any FTA with China provided genuine dividends for Australia.
"I’ve always said, and it remains the government position, that if we can achieve a FTA with China we will, but we will only do that on terms that are beneficial for Australia," Mr Howard told Sky News.
"If in the end we don’t get an FTA with China it won’t be the end of the world because we already have a good trade relationship with that country."
Mr Howard, who will visit Japan in the near future, said he had no plans to discuss an FTA with that country, but would work towards improved trade liberalisation.
"We mustn’t get hung up on the architecture and language and the theory," he said.
"In the end what matters in trade is what you sell and what you buy.
"I would like to see an expansion of our trade links with Japan."