Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D4 / 31 March 2004

Australia-China FTA Joint Feasibility Study call for Public Submissions

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Study Taskforce invites public submissions and comment on issues relevant to the joint FTA feasibility study between Australia and China.

Prime Minister John Howard and China's President Hu Jintao witnessed the signing of the Trade and Economic Framework between Australia and the People's Republic of China (TEF) on 24 October 2003 by Australian Trade Minister, Mark Vaile and Chinese Vice Minister for Commerce, Yu Guangzhou. The TEF includes an agreement to undertake a joint feasibility study into the opportunities and challenges of a possible FTA between Australia and China.

The study is to be completed by October 2005 and will provide a basis for the Australian and Chinese governments to decide whether to negotiate an FTA.

The China FTA Study Taskforce will lead and coordinate Australia's contribution to the joint FTA feasibility study. It will accord high priority to the views and expertise of different groups on issues to be covered by the study. The Taskforce will consult widely, including with business, interested organisations, the general public and State and Territory Governments in the preparation of the study.

The terms of reference for the joint FTA feasibility study and related information can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website.

The deadline for receiving submissions is Friday 18 June 2004. Submissions may be lodged electronically to chinafta@dfat.gov.au or by post at the following address:

China FTA Study Taskforce
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221
Telephone enquiries: (02) 6261 3113
Fax: (02) 6112 2468

Media enquiries: Nicole Guihot, DFAT Media Liaison Section, (02) 6261 1555