CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s trade minister says he wants bilateral free trade deals with Hong Kong, Indonesia and Peru to take effect early next year, adding that the Hong Kong treaty supports its unique status within China.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham introduced legislation into Parliament on Wednesday that would lead to Australia ratifying the three trade treaties.
Hong Kong student activists have called for Australia to write into the Hong Kong deal human rights guarantees, following widespread protests after the Hong Kong government attempted to legislate to allow extradition to China.
Birmingham said the Hong Kong agreement “gives practical reality and effect” to recognition of Hong Kong’s separate status within China’s “one country, two systems” framework.
Australia has had a free trade deal with China, its biggest export market, since 2015.
The Associated Press