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Premier Li’s visit to boost China-Australia relations

Updated: Mar 22,2017 4:01 PM

Premier Li Keqiang will pay official visits to Australia and New Zealand from March 22 to 29, as his first visit abroad in 2017 starts in Australia.

During his stay in Australia, Premier Li will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and attend the fifth annual meeting between the Chinese premier and Australian prime minister.

The two leaders will discuss aligning their development strategies, promoting cooperation in areas such as technological innovation, trade and investment and cultural exchanges.

Defined by a strong complementary relationship, cooperation between the two countries will move to a higher stage as the Premier’s visit will promote aligning China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Australia’s plan to develop its northern part.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Australia diplomatic relations. On Dec 21, 1972, China and Australia established diplomatic relations. Ever since, the two countries have witnessed substantial development of bilateral relations in many sectors.

For eight consecutive years, China remains the largest trade partner of Australia. The two countries implemented the China-Australia free trade agreement in 2016. Since coming into effect, it has yielded continuing dividends, as evidenced by the more than 50 percent year-on-year growth in Australian exports of milk powder, red wine and dietary supplements to China, which are among the most sought-after overseas products for Chinese consumers.

Building on that, bilateral trade reached $107.8 billion, and the bilateral investment surpassed $100 billion in 2016.

Direct investment by Chinese companies in Australia reached $3.68 billion, a 56.1 percent year-on-year growth, covering real estate, commercial service, transportation, and manufacturing sectors.

In January 2017, total volume of imports and exports of goods between China and Australia rose to $10 billion, among which Australia exported $5.73 billion in goods to China with a 56.7 percent growth, accounting for 33.8 percent of the country’s total exports.

In addition, the two countries enjoyed close cooperation in education, culture, tourism, judicial enforcement, and international and regional affairs.

Education and tourism are also examples of frequent people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

In 2016, 260,000 Chinese students were studying in Australia, and the number of visits by Chinese tourists in Australia reached 1.2 million. According to estimates, Chinese tourists will contribute $10 billion to Australia’s tourism market by 2020.

In addition, this is the China-Australia tourism year, which will also witness further cooperation in tourism.

All this progress indicates healthy development of relations between China and Australia.