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Xi eyes China-Australia FTA this year

2015-03-31 13:07:42Source:XinhuaAuthor:

China is looking forward to a China-Australia free trade agreement being signed this year, President Xi Jinping said when meeting with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Monday.

"The two sides should work to sign and approve the free trade agreement this year and implement it as soon as possible, as it can act as a new accelerator for economic cooperation," Xi told Cosgrove, who is making his first state visit to China.

A closer China-Australia relationship not only benefits the two nations but also the Asia-Pacific region, Xi said, assuring Cosgrove that he is ready to maintain close communication with him and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ensure the smooth development of ties.

The two sides should increase interaction between their governments, legislatures and political parties, Xi said.

The president highlighted energy and resources, agriculture and farming, and infrastructure as sectors that would particularly benefit from cooperative projects.

Xi also expressed hope for more people-to-people interaction between the two countries.

Cosgrove arrived in China on Wednesday and is scheduled to leave on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the governor-general attended the opening ceremony of the 2015 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in south China's Hainan Province.

During Monday's meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Cosgrove said the BFA conference was a success, which once again proved the vitality of the Asia-Pacific region.

Cosgrove told Xi that Australia, which has applied to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, also looks forward to the establishment of an RMB clearing bank in Sydney.

He said he believes that the free trade agreement in discussion will greatly benefit the two countries.

The two leaders also talked about cooperation on law-enforcement and fighting corruption, pledging to increase coordination in international affairs.

Prior to the meeting, Xi held a red carpet ceremony to welcome the Australian governor-general.