New customs office to help boost mutual trade
Australia set up a customs services office in its embassy in Beijing yesterday, a step towards improved co-operation between the two countries' border administration departments.
Following the United States, South Korea, France, Israel and Kazakhstan, Australia is the sixth country to establish such an office in China, according to China's General Customs Administration (GAC).
"Headed by Tom Anderson, a very experienced customs office who has served the Ministry of Justice and Customs of Australia (MJCA) for many years, the new office will improve co-operation with China's customs authorities in fighting against terrorism and cross-border crimes like smuggling," said Chris Ellison, minister for the MJCA.
Welcoming Anderson to Beijing at an opening ceremony at Australian Embassy in Beijing, Mou Xinsheng, the GAC's top official, said Sino-Australian co-operation in customs will reach a new high with the establishment of the customs office.
Over the past decade, groups of Chinese customs officials have benefited from technological assis-tance sponsored by the Australian customs authorities, including the Customs International Executive Management Programme.
Last year, the volume of trade between the two countries hit a record US$20.3 billion, up over 50 per cent from a year earlier.
According to the GAC, over the past two years, trade between the two countries has doubled.
Mou attributed the trade explosion in part to the close co-operation between Chinese and Australian customs authorities.
"We are ready to push forward with further co-operation over the years ahead," he said.
China and Australia have enjoyed close relations in the field, said Ellison, but added that more can be done.
Ellison also said he hopes Australia's anti-drug dogs can be bred in China.
The dogs, he said, are able to identify some 20,000 different odors and play a big role in the battle against drugs smuggling.
(China Daily 04/06/2005 page2)