Elliot paves way for PM's trip
FEDERAL Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot jetted off to China yesterday in a visit which will pave the way for Prime Minister Julia Gillard's visit there next month.
The trip to Australia's biggest trading partner will by the first by an Australian prime minister in three years.
Mrs Elliot is making the trip in her role as Parliamentary Trade Secretary and hopes to promote our higher-education sector to Chinese students.
Mrs Elliot's office was saying little at this stage about the trip, but revealed she would be visiting Beijing to attend the 2011 China international education exhibition tour to promote Australian education.
“Justine will also visit Chengdu where she will officially open the Austrade office,” a spokeswoman for her office said.
“While in China Justine will also conduct meetings with representatives from Australian businesses operating in China and Chinese businesses with interests in Australia.”
The Prime Minister is due to lead the largest-ever Australian business delegation to China next month and is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Australia China Business Council's second annual economic and trade forum in Beijing.
China is Australia's biggest trading partner, with more than 20% of our exports heading there.
However Australian business leaders have been arguing that Australia should diversify from the strong mining and commodities focus of trade with the communist country and look for opportunities in services and clean technology
Ms Gillard's visit from April 26 will be the first prime ministerial visit since August 2008 when Kevin Rudd attended the Beijing Olympics.