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Free trade pact with China still far off: Australia

February 14, 2012

CANBERRA - Australia's top diplomat has expressed frustration with the slow progress of free trade talks with China, suggesting there is unlikely to be a deal for many years to come.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Dennis Richardson says despite 17 rounds of negotiations since April 2005, a final free trade agreement is still a very long way off.

"Quite frankly, the progress has been frustratingly slow," he said.