Business / Economy

Upcoming 'largest ever' trade visit to China crucial for Aussie exports

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-04-11 13:44

CANBERRA - China's growing middle class will play an important role in Australia's economic future, the government has said ahead of Australia's "largest ever" trade mission to China on Monday.

Penning a article for News Corp ahead of the Australia Week in China (AWIC) event, Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said the Asian superpower was crucial to boosting Australia's exports, and the week, which covers a number of cities across China, would showcase the best of a number of different Aussie industries.

Ciobo said it was important to send such a large delegation so that Australia could continue to foster and develop the important economic relationship on the back of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).

"More than 1,000 business leaders will join me for Australia Week in China 2016, promoting the best we have to offer in cities across the country," Ciobo said on Monday.

"We are committed to such a large showing because China will remain our largest export market for the foreseeable future, and the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will form the basis of a broader, more diverse commercial relationship for many years to come.

"As Minister for Trade and Investment, my job is to get on with preparing Australia for the new sources of growth this process will generate. The changes under way in China will have important ramifications for our economy and we must act now to understand and shape them."

Ciobo said both nations have already experienced a gigantic leap in economic returns from the deal, and added the trade mission would only serve to keep the positive momentum going.

"Australia Week in China is an important part of this process. It features an extensive program of events, meetings and site visits across agribusiness and premium food, financial services, health and aged care, urban sustainability and water management, education and tourism," he said.

"These are all sectors already benefiting from China's transformation, and coupled with the improved access and tariff reductions the Coalition negotiated through ChAFTA, this process will continue."

The minister said China's rapidly-expanding middle class was a key to the future of Australia's export market.

He said the food and drink industries, as well as cosmetics and technology, would soon rise to similar levels to tourism from China, which has continued to grow almost exponentially over the last decade.

"In the short time since ChAFTA came into force on December 20 last year, we have already seen early signs of gains in shipments of, for example, beef, cherries, wine, seafood and cosmetics," Ciobo said in his article.

"The benefits of ChAFTA aren't confined to goods though, it will benefit service industries too, including tourism.

"Last year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia in a 12-month period passed the 1-million mark for the first time, double the total of just five years ago.

"Chinese tourists are now Australia's biggest-spending visitors and their growing presence in cities and regions is driving a renewal of infrastructure and tourism jobs."

"Visiting China has always been crucial to building stronger commercial partnerships, whatever the industry," Ciobo said on Monday.

"Today, it is also necessary in forming a proper understanding of the changes occurring there, and implications these have for Australian businesses and jobs."

AWIC begins in China on Monday, with the delegation, including the trade minister and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to visit Hong Kong, Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks