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CIIE will enable deepened trade between China and Western Au

Release time:2018-10-26 09:00 Click:173

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 19, 2018 shows the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue to held the upcoming first China International Import Expo (CIIE), scheduled to be held from Nov. 5 to 10, in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)

The trade relationship between China and Australia will deepen over the coming years, said the Treasurer of Western Australia, Ben Wyatt, during a speech at an Auscham event held in Beijing yesterday, Oct. 23.

Western Australia spans two and a half million square kilometers with a tiny population of just over two million people. Home to vast resources and a large energy industry, the state is reliant on foreign investment, and Chinese companies have been investing heavily in WA for decades.

Last year alone, China bought more than $49 billion worth of WA iron ore, and Wyatt explained, “China has been one of the real drivers of WA economic success, and the McGowan Government sees it as vital that it continues.”

The treasurer’s comments took place during his fourth visit to China, during which time he expressed his excitement about the growing possibilities between his state and China. WA is known for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, which used to be exported solely to Japan. However, 20 percent of the country’s LNG is now sent to China, and Wyatt expects that as the demand for gas increases in China, those numbers will increase off the back of various investments Chinese companies have made into LNG industries.

Moreover, new industries in WA are creating new trade links between Australia and China.

For example, lithium is a new industry in Western Australia. In the last five years, it has grown dramatically WA has 45 percent of the global lithium supply, 100 percent of which is exported to China. Chinese companies have, in turn, been heavily investing in the WA industry, which has gone into expanding mines or opening new ones.

Port Hedland, which for generations only exported iron ore and some salts, now transports lithium, highlighting the changing global demand.

When asked about current changes in trade, Wyatt explained, “The relationship with China is deepening beyond simply just investing in raw products and minerals. There’s Chinese investment in the agricultural and pastoral industry, so there’s an opportunity for the relationship to deepen beyond what it’s been throughout history.”

However, there is still room for improvement. Wyatt explained that the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) , in which 200 Australian companies will take part, is incredibly important for the relationship between Australia and China.

“The relationship between China and Australia is at a point where we have a Free Trade Agreement that is being rolled out over time. However, I don’t think there’s been enough effort in making it clear to some of our smaller enterprises how they can maximize those opportunities, so conferences such as this [the CIIE] are fundamental.”

The CIIE will take place in Shanghai between 5-10 Nov. Australia will have its own pavilion and display products and services from a variety of large and small companies from all over the country. Alannah MacTiernan, the Regional Development Agriculture and Food minister for WA, will also attend as part of the Australian delegation.

“The relationship between WA and China has been great so far, but now we need to make sure that it becomes something more than just a government-to-government relationship, it needs to become more economic. Events like the CIIE will enable us to do so,” added Wyatt.

Wyatt expects the relationship between China and Australia to further deepen over the coming decades. “As China continues to grow and the nature of Chinese economic growth changes, the demand for services will increase, and I think that’s what Australia can offer.”

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