China and Australia will on Monday sign a landmark free trade deal more than a decade in the making, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, opening up markets worth billions to Australia and loosening restrictions on Chinese investment.
The deal, which Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to sign on a state visit to Canberra, will open up Chinese markets to Australian farm exporters and the services sector while easing curbs on Chinese investment in resource-rich Australia.
"I look forward to making further announcements on this landmark agreement later today," Abbott said in a statement.
Australia is attempting to transition from a reliance on exports of minerals such as coal and iron ore to expanding its food and agricultural exports to a growing Asian middle class, moving from a "mining boom" to a "dining boom".
China is already Australia's top trading partner, with two-way trade of around A$150 billion ($130 billion) in 2013.
Paul Glasson, the National vice President of the Australia China Business Council, hailed the much-improved access for up to 40 service industries including health, law and aged care, as well as for agricultural products such as dairy, rice, wheat, wool and cotton.
"Up to 95 percent of our exports over time will enter the Chinese market tariff free," parliamentary secretary Josh Frydenberg said in a television interview on Sunday.
Xi, in a warm address to the Australian parliament, pledged to deepen his country's cooperation with Australia and reaffirmed China's willingness to resolve territorial disputes with its neighbors through diplomatic means.