Elliot talks up trade in China
FEDERAL member for Richmond Justine Elliot has told business and government leaders in a far-flung province of western China that Australia wants a wide range of trade with them.
Mrs Elliot, who is travelling through China as parliamentary secretary for trade in a trip which paves the way for a visit by Prime Minister Julia Gillard next month, made the speech in Chengdu in China’s western Sichuan Province, which suffered an horrific earthquake in 2008.
She told business and government dignitaries from the province, which has a population of 88 million, Australia wanted more trade ties with their “large and growing economy”.
She added the centre of global and strategic economic weight was shifting to Asia and the “rise of the Asia-Pacific will define our times”.
“The Australian Government’s guiding principle is that the prosperity that the growth of China and the growth the region brings can be shared,” Mrs Elliot said.
“In Australia, it is easy to gain the mistaken impression that Australia’s trade with China is only about iron ore exports and other mineral resources.
“But coming to Chengdu leaves no doubt that, although incredibly important, our commercial relationship goes well beyond the minerals and energy sectors.
“In Chengdu and more broadly in Sichuan Province, Australian firms are forging complex trade and investment ties with Chinese firms.”
Ms Elliot said two-way trade between Australia and Sichuan reached A$459 million in 2009.
“Australian companies in biotechnology, green building and clean technology machinery, financial services, architectural design and automotive parts have established a presence in Sichuan Province,” she said.
“Australian universities are developing close relationships with Sichuan’s major educational institutions, and there are regular exchanges of students and academics.”