Article – New Aust-China investment deal on the cards

24 June 2014
Fergus Ryan
Business Spectator
BEIJING — Australia and China will create an investment cooperation framework to identify key areas and projects to improve the countries’ investment relationship, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Trade Minister Andrew Robb announced in Beijing on Tuesday.
The framework will identify individual projects and areas where the two countries will give each other particular consideration, Mr Robb said.
The investment cooperation framework is separate to the discussions about a free-trade agreement with China, which Trade Minister Andrew Robb is confident will be completed this year.
Mr Hockey and Mr Robb made the comments following a Beijing meeting on the first annual strategic economic dialogue between China and Australia, with the powerful National Development and Reform Commission’s chairman, Xu Shaoshi.
And demand for new projects in Northern Australia was a particular area that “created a lot of interest” in discussions with Mr Xu, Mr Hockey said.
Mr Robb said he identified multiple industries outside of resources and mining including agriculture and services such as health, medical research, tourism and ageing as well as infrastructure as areas China could invest in.
Meanwhile, Chairman Xu suggested the NDRC would be active in helping to conclude that free trade agreement before the year’s close.
“The conclusion was it was do-able this year, it could be completed and both governments are determined to bring it to completion later this year,” Mr Robb told reporters.
“There is a negotiation, so anything can happen. But we’re both confident and we went through in some detail what ground had to be covered, including agriculture,” Mr Robb said.
The investment cooperation framework would be concluded by the time President Xi Jinping visits Australia for the G20 summit in Brisbane in November, he added.
That framework will be based on the strategic economic dialogue, which will be held this year.
Mr Hockey has extended an invitation to Mr Xu to attend that meeting.
The Abbott government has pledged a free trade agreement with China will be reached by the end of the year that would follow the completion of deals with South Korea and Japan.
Mr Hockey met with People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan on Monday to discuss closer financial relations including the establishment of a clearing bank in Australia.
Courtesy of Business Spectator