Premier Li’s visit to Australia signals cooperation in trade and investment

World Today

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, second left, and his wife Lucy Turnbull, left, welcomed China’s Premier Li Keqiang, second right, and wife Cheng Hong, to Parliament House in Canberra Thursday, March 23, 2017. Li and Prime Minister Turnbull will on Friday detail an expansion of their two-year-old bilateral free trade pact in the areas of investment and services. (Andrew Meares/AAP Image via AP)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Australia on an official state visit. He hopes to expand the two countries’ free-trade agreement in areas from fuel to food.

CGTN’s Sun Ye reports.

Premier Li's visit to Australia signals cooperation in trade and investment

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Australia on an official state visit. He hopes to expand the two countries’ free-trade agreement in areas from fuel to food. CGTN’s Sun Ye reports.

Premier Li’s visit to Australia is certainly music to the ears of meat lovers in China. The two countries signed a major deal on beef exports.

“Now China must feed 20 percent of the world’s population, but has only 7 percent of the world’s arable land. Its middle class is growing at a staggering rate and Australia is seizing the historic opportunity to provide the high quality, safe food and beverages, consumer goods, high-end services of every kind to meet China’s needs in this century,” Malcom Turnbull, Australian Prime Minister said.

They’re also expected to sign agreements in other sectors, such as energy and security.

Their bilateral co-operation has certainly been in the fast lane since their free-trade agreement came into operation just over a year ago. Australian exports of baby formula, wine and tonics have all grown by more than 50-percent.

Bilateral trade was reported at more than $100 billion last year. It’s not surprising that China remains Australia’s biggest trading partner, and both countries are very keen to grow that partnership.

“I come here for free trade. In the world, protectionism is rising and there are more voices against economic globalization… We don’t want to see trade imbalance. We believe that to resolve trade imbalance we need to continue to expand trade. That is the solution. We cannot close our doors. That is not the solution. So, I am here to discuss how we can further upgrade our free trade area, how we can build further consensus, in particular investment and trade in services. We want to continue to open up,”- Li Keqiang, Chinese Premier

Li is the first sitting Chinese premier to visit Australia in 11 years. As he met with Australian Parliament officials and the governor-general, he’s hoping for a big jump in cooperation between the two countries.

 


Sourabh Gupta talks about Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia

For a deeper perspective on trade between China and Australia, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Sourabh Gupta. He’s an expert in Asia-Pacific relations.