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Australia and China successfully conclude 9 years of negotiations on free-trade deal

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia on Monday successfully completed negotiations after nine years with its biggest trading partner China on a free-trade deal, the prime minister said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign the deal later Monday after he addresses the Australian Parliament.

PHOTO: President of China Xi Jinping, third right, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, third left, attend a ministerial meeting in Canberra, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Xi is continuing his visit to Australia following the G-20 summit. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, fourth left, also attended the meeting. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
President of China Xi Jinping, third right, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, third left, attend a ministerial meeting in Canberra, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Xi is continuing his visit to Australia following the G-20 summit. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, fourth left, also attended the meeting. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement he would soon make further announcements on the pact.

News Corp. Australian newspaper reported that under the deal 85 percent of all Australian exports will enter China tariff-free.

A feasibility study on such a pact carried out in 2006 — a year after negotiations began — found it could increase the value of trade by $18 billion over a decade.

Two-way flow of goods and services between the countries was valued at more than $130 billion last year. Trade was worth just a quarter of that value a decade ago.

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