Foreign and Military Affairs

Expo to strengthen Australia's ties with China

Updated: 2010-03-22 19:04
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SYDNEY - Australia's commitment to Shanghai World Expo will be the nation's largest ever to an Expo, and is a reflection of the importance placed on the relationship with China, Commissioner General for Australia and Executive Director, Shanghai World Expo 2010, Lyndall Sachs said on Monday.

"We already have a very good relationship with China but it's a competitive market so Australian businesses, government and research institutions want to continue to grow those relationships with China," she told Xinhua after her speech at the 2010 China Australia Business Congress.

Sachs said the government has invested 83 million Australian dollars ($76 million) in projects for the Expo.

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Construction and fit out of the distinctive weathering steel-clad Australian pavilion is moving quickly: it is set to be the first of the international pavilions to be completed.

The Australian federal and state governments have sought to leverage the opportunities to strengthen cultural, educational, trade and economic relationships that Shanghai World Expo presents.

"The Expo provides a unique platform to help strengthen trade and investment, institutional and people to people links with China," Sachs said.

Targeted business promotion events in the pavilion's dedicated VIP area will highlight Australian capability in key industry sectors, help to boost trade and two-way investment.

David Thomas, Chief Executive of Think Global Consulting noted the Expo presents a valuable opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and develop new areas of cooperation.

"Australia is spending more money at Shanghai World Expo than it has ever done before and therefore we have to take that seriously. It gives us a unique position in the Expo, much more significant than we have ever had in the past.

"I think a lot of Australian businesses and investors will take the opportunity to go to the World Expo, probably for the first time ever, and take advantage of Australia's investment and the platform that has been created," he said.

Thomas said the Australia China Business Council is taking a delegation to the Shanghai World Expo in July and he plans to join the business tour.

The Shanghai World Expo, which is the largest Expo ever held, will attract over 70 million visitors from around the world who will come to see exhibitions from over 192 countries and 49 international organizations.

From May 1 to October 31 2010, Australia's visually striking national pavilion will showcase Australian innovation, creativity and achievement to some 7 million visitors mostly from China - an average of 38,000 people on each of the 184 days of the Expo.