TRADE minister Steven Ciobo was in China last week discussing the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) with the country’s commerce minister, Zhong Shan, at the Joint Ministerial Economic Commission (JMEC) between the two countries.
The ministers agreed that the JMEC is an important part of the bilateral economic and trade architecture between the two countries; the first such meeting was held in 1986.
In a joint statement, the ministers noted that since the first meeting the trade and economic relationship between Australia and China had transformed, with two way trade growing more than 60 times to reach more than $155bn in 2016.
The ministers also noted the three rounds of tariff cuts that have come into effect since ChAFTA came into force in 2015.
“Both sides agreed implementation of ChAFTA has been successful, with high rates of utilisation by exporters of over 85% on both sides,” the statement reads.
“Both sides shared the view that not only had ChAFTA ushered in a new era in the bilateral trade and investment relationship, but that it continued to demonstrate, for the region and beyond, the opportunities and benefits of trade liberalisation.”
Mr Ciobo also participated in the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in Beijing, along with Treasurer Scott Morrison, hosted by China’s National Development and Reform Commission chairman He Lifeng.