The Abbott Government wants to make it perfectly clear that it greatly values Australia’s strong and growing relationship with China and its people, the Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said today.

The existing strength of our relationship is underlined by the fact that China is our biggest trading partner with two-way trade approaching $150 billion. This represents more than 20 per cent of our total trade.

The linkages in our community run deep with 866,000 people of Chinese ancestry and almost 700,000 speaking Mandarin or Cantonese. Mandarin is the most common language spoken in Australian homes other than English.

We not only greatly value the contributions Australian Chinese are making to our community, but we are also determined to deepen our trade, investment and people-to-people linkages with China.

This explains our hope of concluding an historic free trade agreement with China this year and also the 700-strong business mission the Prime Minister Tony Abbott led to China earlier this year, Australia’s biggest ever.

The Abbott Government warmly looks forward to the official visit by President Xi Jinping later this year, ahead of the G20 in Brisbane.

Peripheral issues will not distract the government in its work to broaden and deepen this most important relationship.

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