The Treasurer Joe Hockey and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb will travel to China over the weekend for the inaugural Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The Dialogue provides an opportunity for Australia and China to explore opportunities for closer economic ties and to discuss issues within the global economic environment.

The Australia-China economic and trade relationship continues to steadily expand. China is now Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, valued at more than $150 billion in 2013.

China is also our largest goods export destination, valued at $95 billion in 2013. The Government is pursuing a number of initiatives to strengthen and diversify this relationship including the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

As part of the Dialogue, Mr Hockey and Mr Robb will hold discussions with the Chairman of China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The NDRC plays a central role in setting the strategic direction for China’s economy and also manages investment both within and outside China.

On the agenda for this year’s Dialogue are ways to encourage greater two-way trade and investment, closer financial co-operation and opportunities to collaborate in our respective G20 and APEC host years.

Mr Hockey will reaffirm Australia’s interest in working with China to enhance offshore market development of China’s currency, the Renminbi (RMB). The Treasurer announced in April that the central banks of Australia and China are working together on potential future RMB clearing and settlement arrangements in Sydney.

The Dialogue will be held in Beijing on 24 June 2014.

While in Beijing, meetings will also be held with China’s other top economic policymakers to reinforce Australia’s commitment to closer economic co-operation, including in the area of financial services as the Chinese economy continues on its path towards greater international openness.

This visit will also present a further opportunity to work towards a conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement with China. Minister Robb will meet with China’s Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu and will emphasise the importance of strong market access gains for Australian agriculture through an FTA.

Another focus of the Treasurer’s discussions will be continued collaboration with China in the G20 and APEC forums during 2014. The Treasurer will highlight the need for the G20 to push ahead with Australia’s pro-growth agenda when he heads to Shanghai to address senior business leaders and officials.

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