Trade and Acting Foreign Minister Craig Emerson will lead one of the largest ever trade delegations to leave Australia for Asia when he departs this week for the Australia-China 2.0 Trade Mission to China’s booming inland cities.
Almost 100 Australian companies have been selected to accompany Dr Emerson and the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, on a visit to five of China’s fast-growing hinterland cities.
The mission, over six days, is aimed at exploring new opportunities for Australian exports and investment.
Dr Emerson said the size and scope of the mission, which runs from August 4-9, reflected China’s importance to Australia’s economic future.
“Australia-China 2.0 marks the next phase of our economic engagement with the world’s fast-growing large economy,” Dr Emerson said.
“China is moving from an export-led growth model to one driven more by consumer demand and rapid urbanisation. At the same time, prosperity is spreading beyond the East Coast to new frontiers in western and central China.
“While resources will remain a key component of our trade, there is growing demand for a range of other products and services that Australia is well-placed to supply.”
The mission delegation includes representatives from service industries in particular, including green building and design, clean energy, education, financial and professional services, IT, health, culture and logistics.
The business group will visit Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Changsha and Guangzhou for meetings with key local leaders and business people.
“Governments use policy to set the frameworks which allow trade between countries,” Dr Emerson said. “However, it is only through personal contact that business leaders can create the links which lead to flows of goods, services and investment.”
He added: “We need to move beyond the view of China as merely a destination for raw materials.”
“Australian business also needs to move beyond traditional destinations like Shanghai and Beijing to the booming hinterland regions, where China’s extraordinary economic transformation is even more evident.”
“Under its new strategic direction, Austrade has been expanding its presence in these regions, and stands ready to assist.”
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