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Truss: Chinese Products Safe
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Australian Trade Minister Warren Truss said Tuesday that Chinese products and food are safe, and Australia treats them exactly the same as products coming from any other country in the world.

"To me they must be safe, otherwise they won't be allowed into Australian market," Truss said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' week in Sydney.

"When we come to Chinese products coming into Australia, we treat them exactly the same as products coming from any country in the world," he said, adding "these products and foods coming into Australia have to meet the same standards as Australian products and foods that are supplied to Australian consumers, and the same as Japanese foods and products supplied to our consumers."

Truss stressed Australia does not have "any particular, special kind of restrictions done for Chinese products that are not done on other countries."

The minister said China is a very important trading partner of Australia, and soon China will be Australia's No. 1 export market.

"We prize our trade relations with China very highly, and that's why we'd like to have a free trade agreement with China to underpin that trade and help build cross-border contacts," he said.

Statistics shows that in 2006, trade between China and Australia amounted to US$32.9 billion, up 20 percent from the previous year. China is currently the second largest trading partner of Australia while Australia is China's ninth.

In the first six months of 2007, bilateral trade reached US$19.5 billion, a 35 percent increase over the corresponding period of 2006.

On Monday, Chinese President Hu Jintao started a state visit to Australia, which is expected to further boost bilateral relations including trade.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2007)

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