BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday exchanged congratulations on the signing of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), hailing it as a paradigm of regional economic integration.
In his message, Xi said the signing of the China-Australia FTA will provide a better platform and an improved institutional guarantee for the two countries to complement each other with advantages and conduct close win-win cooperation.
Xi added that the signing of the FTA will also set an example for high-level economic and trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific and help promote regional economic integration.
China and Australia, Xi said, have enjoyed fruitful results in economic and trade cooperation, with increasingly interwoven interests and close people-to-people exchanges since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 43 years ago.
Both being important members of the Asia-Pacific, China will work with Australia to stay on the right course of bilateral ties, follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and take the opportunity of signing the FTA to promote sustainable and stable development of their comprehensive strategic partnership as well as peace and prosperity in the region and the world, Xi said.
The signing of the FTA marks a fresh start for Australia-China relations, as it will provide more freedom for bilateral trade and investments and enhance bilateral ties, said Abbott, adding that he hoped both countries would benefit from it.
Moreover, the Australia-China FTA is a historic agreement as it will not only promote the economic growth of the two countries, but also serve as a model for other Asian-Pacific countries' future economic integration.
Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb on Wednesday signed the historic FTA in Canberra, finalizing negotiations that began ten years ago and following the Declaration of Intent signed in November by Xi and Abbott.