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Sino-Australia trade relations are deep and strong, minister says

By ZHOU JIN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-06-12 17:54

Trade relations between China and Australia are broad, deep, strong and have grown substantially, the Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said.

China and Australia have differences of opinion in relation to certain matters, but what matters is to approach the differences in a respectful and constructive manner, Ciobo told reporters after addressing a speech at Australia’s National Press Club on Wednesday.

The minister noted that his visit to Shanghai last month was successful and built upon the "great connection" between the two countries.

His visit was to sign a memorandum on the forthcoming China International Import Expo to be held in November in Shanghai, and he will lead a delegation of Australian businesses to the event.

The expo is part of China's ongoing commitment to opening up to the world and to investment, and also an important platform to promote the exports of Australia goods to China, Ciobo said.

Although the development of Australia-China relations is not always smooth, overall bilateral trade relations have maintained a good momentum and have not been disrupted, he said.

China is Australia’s largest trade partner, export and investment growth to China was phenomenal over the past three years, according to the minister.

The value of bilateral trade between China and Australia reached $136.26 billion last year, according to the website of foreign ministry.

Ciobo noted that tariffs on Australian wines exported to China have dropped from 14 percent to 2.5 percent after both countries signed a free trade agreement in 2015. In January it will drop to zero.

Recent reports on a delay in clearing Australian wine exports to China is just one case, he said, adding that the problem is being solved and it is important not to mis-characterize the issue.

Australia has a rich experience in project financing and design, construction, management and maintenance, he said, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative will bring opportunities for Australian enterprises and it will result in even stronger potential for bilateral cooperation.

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