China free trade agreement to be signed off

AUSTRALIA is about to sign a free trade agreement with China with the deal expected to open up billions of dollars in new markets for exporters.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng will sign the agreement on Wednesday in Canberra.

It would be the third such deal in three months following similar agreements with Japan and South Korea.

Mr Robb told reporters in Canberra the agreement was a decade in the making and involved intense negotiations at the highest levels.

"The landmark agreement will lock in our existing trade relationship with our largest trading partner and will be a catalyst for future growth across goods, services and investment."