Belt and Road beckon Canberra, Wellington

By Han Feng ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-03-30 07:36:00

Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Australia and New Zealand from March 22 to 29 was the first by a Chinese premier in 11 years. Amid increasing geopolitical changes and challenges, his visit to the two countries showed China's commitment to the liberalization of trade and investment, as well as its efforts to march toward a regional free trade pact with other economies in the region.

His visit not only resulted in a series of concrete trade agreements such as facilitating quality supervision on Australian beef exported to China, but also paved way for negotiations to upgrade the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand. It released a clear signal to uphold the banner of free trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

Against the backdrop of relatively weak global economic growth and much challenged global governance, the Donald Trump administration in the United States has set an "exclusive" economic agenda of "America First" and "Make America Great Again". The supposed opposition to free trade and thus globalization by the world's biggest economy could alter its relationships with China, Australia and New Zealand, and change the way international institutions function.

Belt and Road beckon Canberra, Wellington

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