Foreign and Military Affairs

Sino-Australian co-op to go beyond the buyer-seller one

Updated: 2011-04-27 07:14


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BEIJING - Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday expressed the hope that China-Australia energy and resources relationship should go beyond the buyer-seller one.

"The two countries should seek a long-term stable and strategic cooperation in energy and resources, rather than maintain a simple buyer-seller relationship," Li said in a key-note speech at a China-Australia economic and trade forum on Tuesday.

Sino-Australian co-op to go beyond the buyer-seller one

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang meets with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a China-Australia economic and trade forum in Beijing, April 26, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

The forum coincided with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's first visit to China since she took office last year.

"With regard to energy and resources, China and Australia should innovate their ways of cooperation and seek mutual benefit, " Li told an audience of about 600 government leaders and business executives from the two countries.

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Energy and resources, including iron ore, coal and natural gas, were at the heart of China-Australia relationship as iron ore alone accounted for nearly half of Australian exports to China in 2009-2010.

Gillard said Australia's economic ties with China were "in good shape," citing last year two-way trade exceeded 100 billion Australian dollars for the first time - a sixfold increase in the past 10 years, and one quarter of all Australian exports came to China.

China-Australia economic relations had developed rapidly in recent years with China becoming the largest cargo trading partner for Australia while Australia was the eighth largest for China.

Bilateral trade volume grew by 46.5 percent in 2010 and 39.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Li called on the two countries to foster growth in infrastructure.

"There is room for the two countries to work together in this sector as Australia is vigorously boosting infrastructure construction while Chinese businesses have expertise and advanced technologies," Li said.

Li highlighted China-Australia cooperation in the service industry, proposing the two countries work closely in medical care, food safety, finance and tourism.

"China has just become Australia's largest services export market, led by education and tourism," Gillard said.

She said 2010 saw more than 167,000 enrolments by Chinese students in Australia while 12 years ago that number was just 9,000.

There were nearly 450,000 arrivals from China in Australia last year, according to Tourism Australia.

Li urged the two countries to liberalize and facilitate trade and investment in a bid to create sound environments for the businesses.

Li called on Australia to facilitate Chinese companies' investment in the Oceanian country.

Both Li and Gillard appealed for the substantive progress in bilateral free trade agreement talks.

Before the forum, Li and Gillard met with participants of the second China-Australia CEO Roundtable, who came from a wide-ranging fields of mining, steel, financial bonds, transportation, engineering consultancy and business services.

Earlier Tuesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with Gillard. They witnessed the signing of five cooperative deals, including a 600-million-U.S. dollar deal on financing for an iron ore project of Western Australia's Karara Mining Ltd.

Gillard will meet with other Chinese leaders before concluding her visit on Thursday.


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