The visit to Australia this week of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang provides a golden opportunity to strengthen economic ties between our two countries, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “The Australian business community welcomes Premier Li to our shores. China and Australia have a long history of friendship and trade, and we hope the Premier’s visit demonstrates the ways our two countries can continue to work together to improve the living standards of both our peoples.
“The annual two-way trade between Australia and China stands at $150 billion, with China both Australia’s largest export market and our largest source of imports. Our major exports to China are iron ore, coal and gold, while our major imports are computing equipment and household goods.
“Australia is a growing exporter of services, welcoming more than 1 million Chinese tourists a year and providing a world-class education to nearly 50,000 Chinese students.
“The Australian Chamber strongly supports the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which has opened up new market opportunities for Australian exporters while also giving Australian consumers and businesses greater access to goods and services from China.
“China represents an enormous opportunity for Australian business. We are pleased many businesses are exploring opportunities there, and encourage more to do so.
“The Australian Chamber network is undertaking several initiatives to create opportunities for businesses in China and Australia, particularly small and medium enterprises, to work together.
“Export Growth China, a national project led by the NSW Business Chamber, offers small businesses a unique combination of professional export services to overcome the hurdles in exporting to China. Its team of international trade experts in Sydney, Brisbane and Shanghai promote Australian products and services in order to seek interest from authentic buyers and facilitate sales contracts.
“We recently hosted a business matching event in conjunction with the Bank of China, which brought dozens of Chinese customers and investors to Sydney to meet Australian companies in the agriculture sector. This encouraged closer collaboration and growth for businesses in the two countries.
“As a diplomat representing Australia in China I’ve seen first-hand the rapid rise to prosperity of China, founded in large part on the country’s increasing openness to foreign trade and investment. I am proud of the role that Australian businesspeople are playing in this story, delivering benefits to both countries.
“We wish Premier Li well on his visit.”