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Australia, China resume trade talks

BOAO, China, April 7 (UPI) — Australia’s prime minister said she wants to resume talks with China to establish a free trade agreement while on an official visit to the country.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Sunday she has not set a timetable for reaching a trade accord — negotiations have been ongoing since 2005 without reaching a deal — but said the two nations have complementary economies. Australia supplies China with many of the natural resources its vast and growing economy needs.

Still, Gillard said there are “sensitivities on both sides that may continue to be worked through.”

“Now, we want to see our relationships strengthened to be taken to a new level, not just because of the importance of China to Australia bilaterally, but because of the role that China has to play in the stability and prosperity of our neighborhood and in addressing the critical global challenges we face today,” she said.

State-run Xinhua news agency said Gillard’s visit, first to an Asia-Pacific conference in the coastal town of Boao, then to Shanghai and Beijing, will conclude Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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