Farmers fine with China foreign investment deal

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Vicki Wood

FARMERS have largely backed Tony Abbott's plan for what would be a less-than-complete free trade deal with China, in a bid to complete the lagging negotiations within 12 months.

But president of the National Farmers Federation Duncan Fraser has also warned against "signing a deal at any cost".

He said any deal had to take a "holistic view of Australian agriculture", and ensure that no key export commodities were left out.

Mr Fraser said while the industry has been waiting for "eight long years" for the deal, it was important to get the best possible outcome for Australian farmers.

He said it was also likely foreign investment would become a "bargaining chip" during deal negotiations.

But Mr Fraser said as long as it was in the national interest, and open and transparent, primary producers would welcome foreign investment.

His comments come as Prime Minister Abbott continues high-level trade meetings in Bali for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Mr Abbott said there was always "horse-trading" in such negotiations, but "if you can come to a deal, everyone is better off".

Topics:  agriculture china farmers foreign investment national farmers federation tony abbott

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