Trade Minister Craig Emerson this week signed an agreement with Guangdong Province, the first business accord between the populous Chinese province and another country.
Dr Emerson said the Australia-Guangdong Business Cooperation Council would help Australian and Chinese businesses recognise and take advantage of opportunities in each other's markets, while streamlining trade and investment between the two economies.
The Council is the type of agreement between Australia and major provincial governments foreshadowed in the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.
"A lot of Chinese provinces have populations many times the size of Australia's," Dr Emerson said.
"This agreement is really akin to a business cooperation deal with a major economy."
With a population of nearly 100 million and GDP of $900 billion, Guangdong Province figures among the world's 20 biggest economies. The province's economy is bigger than that of Norway and Saudi Arabia, and almost double the size of Finland's.
The setting-up of the Council follows a proposal by former Guangdong Party Secretary Wang Yang during his visit to Australia in June last year, when he met Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Dr Emerson.
The Council will be initially made up of 10 business representatives from each side, representing industries such as legal and financial services, accounting, logistics and engineering. It will hold its first meeting later this year.
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