China, it appears, does not think signing a free trade deal with Australia this year is a priority.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott had indicated he wished to have a deal inked by September.
But according to an article in the Fin, it wasn’t mentioned at a recent Commerce Ministry press conference on priorities for a year ahead. Experts say that’s not an accident.
Diplomatic relations between China and Australia have been strained, which is put forward as a reason. Though this nugget from a soon-to-be-released PwC report also has an interesting take. From the Fin:
“Despite our quality resource assets, geographic proximity and relative political stability, it is possible that China may be somewhat ‘overweight’ in Australia.
“We expect therefore that over the longer-term China’s investment levels in Australia, compared to other destinations, will fall back to be more in-line with our relative global economic ranking.”
The priorities listed by the ministry spokesperson were a deal with South Korea and Japan, a separate deal with South Korea and a third regional pact.
There’s more here.
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