The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

28 April 2004 - MVT26/2004

Australia-China Trade Relations Set to Expand

Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile today completed a week-long visit to China which underlined the deepening trade and investment ties between the countries.

"The Australia-China trade and economic relationship is set to move into a new, expanded phase," Mr Vaile said following visits to Guangzhou, Shanghai, the Boao Forum for Asia, Beijing and Hong Kong from 21-27 April 2004.

"My visit to China re-affirmed the long-term goal of both countries to build on the trade and economic complementarities and closer integration of our two economies," Mr Vaile said.

At the Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan Island, Mr Vaile met President Hu Jintao and discussed how to advance the bilateral trade and economic relationship further. "I also met other current and former government leaders and business people and discussed greater regional and global economic cooperation, including focussing on completing the Doha Round of WTO negotiations this year."

In Beijing, Mr Vaile co-chaired the 10 th Joint Ministerial Economic Commission with Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and discussed a range of bilateral issues to promote trade and investment, including progress on the joint FTA feasibility study. Importantly, Ministers Bo and Vaile agreed to fast-track completion of the FTA study to allow both Governments to make an early decision on future FTA negotiations.

Quarantine market access issues, including Australia's access requests for citrus and mangoes, and accreditation of Australian meat processing plants were also discussed at the meeting.

Mr Vaile also held meetings with Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan and NDRC Chairman Ma Kai and exchanged views on the strength and scope of the relationship and our joint commitment to build an even closer and stronger partnership.

The visits to Guangzhou and Shanghai allowed Mr Vaile to promote Australia's strengths as a reliable, trustworthy supplier of energy and resources to fuel China's economic development.

"I was especially pleased to have with me during the visit, Australian business representatives and a number of State Government ministers to showcase to provincial leaders and businesses Australia's capabilities and readiness to supply China's needs."

During the visit, Mr Vaile witnessed the signing of two important investment Memorandums of Understanding with key Chinese Government Ministries which will promote and accelerate two-way investment in key sectors of mutual interest.

"The level of two-way investment does not match the strong performance of bilateral merchandise and services trade and I am sure the new arrangements will provide a strong platform to facilitate greater investment," Mr Vaile said.

"China's opening to the world and its emergence as a major growing industrial power is one of the most significant and positive global developments of the past 25 years. Australia is well placed to assist China in this economic growth now and into the future."

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420

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