The Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment today hosted the second annual Australia‑China Strategic Economic Dialogue with Chairman Xu Shaoshi of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The Australia-China bilateral relationship is vital to growing Australia’s economy and creating jobs for Australians, and is worth more than A$150 billion annually in two-way trade.
The Australian Government has worked hard to ensure that this relationship continues to deliver economic benefits, including through the historic China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Infrastructure investment is critical to the Government’s economic plan, and at today’s meeting we agreed to work closely in addressing the needs of our regional economies, in particular exploring opportunities in the future to develop new infrastructure in areas like northern Australia.
China has agreed to send representatives to participate in the Northern Australia Investment Forum to be held in November 2015. The Forum will focus on investment opportunities in resources and energy, agribusiness and food, major infrastructure, tropical medicine and tourism in northern Australia. The Australian and Chinese governments will also form working groups to explore new opportunities in northern Australia and the region, including the potential role of the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Today the Government introduced legislation to enable Australia to become a founding member of the AIIB, an important multilateral initiative that will increase infrastructure investment in our region and opportunity for Australian business.
We agreed to pursue avenues for further two-way investment to diversify our trade relationship and create opportunities in the services sector.
Australia will host an Australia Week Roundtable in Beijing, which is expected to attract over 700 Australian businesses and connect them with key Chinese stakeholders. This is set to take place in the first half of 2016.
Both sides encouraged cooperation under the Investment Cooperation Framework signed in November 2014. The Framework will create new pathways for information sharing between Australia and China, promote two-way investment in new sectors and identify road blocks for investors from both countries.
As part of the dialogue, the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment hosted an investor roundtable with Chairman Xu and CEOs of Australian companies. The Australian CEOs highlighted the success stories of Australian firms working in the finance, health and manufacturing sectors and discussed ways to further leverage the opportunities in the Chinese market.
Today we left the meeting with optimism about the Australia-China relationship and the mutual benefits it will bring for both countries.