CIIE consolidates China-Australia trade ties

By Xie Jun in Shanghai and Yang Kunyi in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/10 21:43:40

Aussie companies look to Chinese market for more business development, closer partnership

Visitors take a look at beef in the Hunter Beef booth from Australia during the China International Import Expo. Photo: Yang Hui/GT


Graphics: GT

The Chinese market has become increasingly indispensable for Australian companies and bilateral trade ties between the two are ever so closer with initiatives like the China International Imports Expo (CIIE), which facilitates more trade and communications, Australian business representatives and experts said. 

The CIIE, as China's clear message to embrace more trade with the world, is also demonstrating the country's determination to further open up its trade and market toward the rest of the world, a sign that is well welcomed by Australian companies that are looking at China's market for more business development and partnership. 

Peter Osborne, managing director of Asia for Australia-based food company Blackmores, told the Global Times that during this CIIE, they signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with one Chinese e-commerce platform and the Hainan International Economic Development Bureau to "expand presence in China" and "continue to make products more accessible to Chinese customers." 

The company also participated in last year's CIIE.

The deals signed during this year's CIIE are a small part of the progress made in recent years in the bilateral trade. 

In 2015, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Australia came to force, with both countries offering each other the status of the most favored nation. Over the years the bilateral trade has grown exponentially. 

According to statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce, the merchandise trade between China and Australia reached $152.8 billion in 2018, increasing 12 percent from the previous year. 

Australia's Minister of Trade Simon Birmingham visited the second CIIE, leading a delegation of 200 companies to the trade fair for more opportunities of trade and investment. 

"China is providing a lot of trade opportunities that the stagnant Australian economy needs," Liu Qing, director of the department for Asia-Pacific security and cooperation at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. 

"Australia is actively seeking ties with countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia, and China is a market that it cannot ignore," Liu said.

Earlier this year, Australia also signed FTA and an investment agreement with China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, a move aiming to expand more widely in the country, Liu said.

platforms such as the CIIE are also showing China's open attitude toward trade cooperation, according to Liu. 

Australian supermarket brand Coles Supermarkets is also exploring the Chinese market with enthusiasm. 

"This year's CIIE has lifted its cooperation with China to a whole new level, as the company signed a A$10 million ($6.8 million) MoU with City Shop, a local supermarket chain in China," Coles Supermarkets said in a note sent to the Global Times on Friday.

Several products by Coles, including its beef imported from Australia, will be sold locally at City Shop's online store in China. 

"The Chinese government's determination to open up and increase its imports is attracting more international beef companies to come to China for promotion and sales, and the CIIE is the perfect promotion platform," the company said.

"The amount of business done during this year's CIIE is a sign that Australia is putting a lot of focus on the Chinese market and intends to keep the bilateral relationship in good shape," Liu said.


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