Australia’s bilateral trade with China may rise to as much as A$100 billion ($91 billion) this year, according to Austrade, the government’s trade and investment development agency.
Trade between Australia and its biggest trading partner increased by about 30 percent to A$86 billion in the 2009 financial year, Jeff Turner, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, said in an interview today during an event in Sydney.
“When you consider that was during the global financial crisis, that’s quite spectacular,” Turner said. “If that trend continues, we could see bilateral trade this financial year get to A$100 billion.”
Australia and China are set to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement that stalled more than a year ago, Australian Trade minister Simon Crean said last week, reaffirming Chinese vice-Premier Li Keqiang’s statement in October that China remains committed to a pact.
Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months over a failed investment deal with Rio Tinto Group and the detention of Rio employee Stern Hu by China. A standoff over China’s reluctance to allow agricultural imports from Australia could be a hurdle, Crean said.
“The stumbling block remains, in essence, the sensitivity surrounding agriculture,” Crean said in comments to reporters on February 16. “It is clearly impossible for Australia to accept an FTA outcome that is less than China has already offered to New Zealand when it comes to agriculture.”