China and Australia have inked a landmark free-trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
Australia's trade minister Andrew Robb and China's commerce minister Gao Hucheng formalised the so-called China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in Canberra on 17 June.
Both governments concluded negotiations on the FTA in 2014. The agreement now has to be approved by parliaments of both nations for it to come into effect.
The deal is expected to boost bilateral trade to the tune of $20bn (£12.8bn, €17.8bn) by 2035. The countries accounted for more than $160bn of two-way trade in goods and services in 2014.
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.
The preamble of the agreement states that the parties want to "strengthen their economic partnership and further liberalise bilateral trade and investment to bring economic and social benefits, to create new opportunities for employment and to improve the living standards of their people".
It adds that "the strengthening of their economic partnership through a free trade agreement, which removes barriers to the trade of goods and services and investment flows, will produce mutual benefits for the Parties".
"[The agreement] has the highest degree of liberalization amongst all the FTA's China has so far signed with another economy," Gao said.
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.
The full text of the agreement is given below: