(Business in Vancouver)
After a decade of haggling, China has concluded its first comprehensive free trade agreement with a major western economy, Australia, with ratification scheduled for next year.
The declaration of intent, signed while Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Brisbane for the G20 summit late last month, is being interpreted as a signal from Beijing that it is ready to do business with developed economies on an equal basis. Australian resources industries already count China as their main market, and the new agreement is seen as opening enormous opportunities for Australia’s services industries. [...]
However, there is already a substantial backlash from Australia’s trade unions and the public at large over what are seen as excessively liberal rules allowing Chinese labour to enter the country and concerns that Beijing is a regional security threat. Read more here.