China Australia FTA
China's President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott after a signing ceremony for a free trade deal at Parliament House in Canberra on 17 November 2014Reuters

China and Australia will sign a long-awaited free-trade agreement (FTA) on 17 June, as the nations look to boost their already strong trade relationship.

Australia's Trade Minister Andrew Robb and China's Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng will formalise the so-called China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in Canberra on 17 June, AAP reports.

"The landmark agreement will lock in our existing trade relationship with our largest trading partner, and will be a catalyst for future growth across goods, services and investment," Robb told the news agency.

The agreement will initially allow 85% of all Australian exports to enter China tariff-free. Subsequently, the quota will be increased to 93% within four years and 95% when the agreement is in full force.

Resource-rich Australia has been a natural trade partner for China, where economic growth averaged 10% over the last three decades. The countries accounted for more than $160bn (£102.9bn, €142.4bn) of two-way trade in goods and services in 2014.

China is Australia's largest export market for both goods and services, accounting for nearly a third of total exports, and a growing source of foreign investment. The FTA is expected to promote further Australian investment in China and Chinese investment in Australia.

Australia's similar agreements with Japan and South Korea would soon make 95% of the country's exports tariff-free, according to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

"This is what happens when you've got a government which is open for business, when you've got a government with a plan, a plan to deliver a safe, strong and prosperous future for everyone," he told the Australian parliament.

Australia-China trade
http://dfat.gov.au/