Australia-China FTA Negotiations

First round of negotiations

26 May 2005

The first round of talks, held in Sydney on 23 May, focused on procedural issues, including confirmation that the Chinese negotiating team will be led by Zhang Xiangchen, an experienced negotiator and Deputy Director General of WTO Affairs in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Together with the Head of Australia's China FTA Task Force, Ric Wells, they discussed negotiating procedures, laying the basis for future negotiations. It was agreed that the second round of talks would be held in China in August and would involve an in-depth exchange of information.

During the meeting, Australia offered to provide training for Chinese officials on FTA negotiating processes. Australia offered to provide four workshops per year, based on successful workshops conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade around the region. The capacity-building workshops would be funded by AusAid.

Visit by Chairman of China's National People's Congress, Mr Wu Bangguo

The first round of FTA negotiations coincided with a business forum at which Mr Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the National People's Congress of China, delivered the keynote address. Mr Wu told the forum that "the China-Australia FTA is a significant development in our relations...It will provide an even brighter horizon for our economic partnership".

China FTA Task Force Consultations

The China FTA Task Force is continuing its program of public and stakeholder consultations, with meetings scheduled to take place across states and territories in coming months. Australia's lead negotiator will also be meeting with Australian businesses based in China.