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Li Keqiang: Propel China and Australia Towards an Era of Prosperous Free Trade

2017/03/24

On the morning of March 24, 2017 local time, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia held the 5th China-Australia Annual Prime Ministerial Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra.

Li Keqiang noted that China and Australia have constantly strengthened bilateral relations as well as enjoyed the sustained development of cooperation in various fields, achieving fruitful outcomes. After President Xi Jinping's successful visit to Australia in 2014, China-Australia bilateral relations were elevated into the comprehensive strategic partnership. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Australia diplomatic relations, representing a new phase of bilateral relations. At present, against the backdrop of the complicated and ever-changing international and regional situation, the two countries share broad common interests in boosting respective development, promoting regional economic growth and coping with global challenges. Guided by the principles of mutual respect and equal treatment, China is willing to, together with Australia, enhance mutual trust, upgrade the level of practical cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, people-to-people and cultural engagement, and law enforcement security so as to push China-Australia bilateral relations and cooperation for new progress.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the two countries enjoy economic advantage complementarity, high degree of converging interests and broad prospects for cooperation. In the future, both sides should take the establishment of three major dialogue mechanisms in innovation, energy and high-level security as an opportunity to further enhance the institutionalization level of cooperation between the two countries. Both sides should focus on the establishment of four major cooperation platforms in bilateral free trade agreement, the docking of development strategies, technological innovation and regional economic cooperation, actively expand cooperation fields and explore cooperation of new business patterns and models. Both sides should well handle the deliberation and approval of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, conduct further exploration in the fields of service trade and investment and carry out free trade in more fields, so as to propel China and Australia towards an era of prosperous free trade, jointly promote economic globalization as well as trade and investment facilitation and liberalization, oppose trade protectionism, and push forward the establishment of an open world economy.

Li Keqiang indicated that China and Australia, both as important countries in this region, should strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional issues and make positive contributions to promoting the peaceful settlement of hotspot issues in the Asia-Pacific region as well as maintaining regional peace and security.

Malcolm Turnbull noted that Australia-China relations have presented unprecedented importance with comprehensive and robust cooperation between the two countries. Australia is a reliable and long-term partner of China and the two countries share strong economic complementarity. The implementation of Australia-China Free Trade Agreement has laid a foundation for both countries, which is conducive to improving the well-being of the two peoples. Both Australia and China face the common challenges of advancing economic transformation and free trade. Australia highly appreciates that China commits to pushing forward the economic globalization and facilitating opening up of markets. Australia is willing to join hands with China to further enhance exchanges, deepen friendship and expand cooperation so as to achieve peace and prosperity for Australia and China and all countries in the world at large.

After the meeting, the Chinese Premier and the Australian Prime Minister witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents in such fields as trade, economy, innovation, agriculture, food, intellectual property, law enforcement security, tourism and education.

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