At CIIE, Australian firms eager for Chinese market amid signs of improving ties
Published: Nov 09, 2022 11:35 PM
The booth of Australia Kuro Kin Wagyu at the fifth China International Import Expo on November 5, 2022. Photo: VCG

The booth of Australia Kuro Kin Wagyu at the fifth China International Import Expo on November 5, 2022. Photo: VCG

Australian companies are actively participating in the ongoing 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, the world's biggest import fair with some new deals inked, amid growing diplomatic interactions between the two countries.

Australian firms are among the most active participants at this year's CIIE, with 64 companies in sectors ranging from agricultural products to mining participated in the event, the Global Times learned.

Companies such as Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto have struck new deals with Chinese business partners at the expo.

In a strategic cooperation memorandum that the company signed with China's state-owned miner Sinomine Resource Group at the CIIE, the two sides pledged to focus on cooperation in the field of iron ore and the steel industry chain supply chain, including promoting carbon reductions, according to a statement Rio Tinto sent to the Global Times.

China is the No.1 export market for Australian iron ore, with more than 60 percent of it going to the Chinese market, making the sector part of the backbone of Australia's economy.

China is also the major market for other Australian goods ranging from wine to beef and lobsters.

Australia's GOLDA winery was invited to participate in the CIIE for the first time. An employee with GOLDA winery said that the CIIE allowed the company to see the unlimited business opportunities in China, according to media reports.

GOLDA said that it attaches great importance to the Chinese market and is optimistic about its prospects in China. It hoped to choose more powerful and brand-conscious partners by participating in the CIIE.

At the Neurio booth under the Australia company Sunnya, a marketing operations manager surnamed Jiang told the Global Times that the company is participating in the expo for the fourth time.

"We aim to build branding and let more consumers across the country know this brand via the platform," Jiang said. Neurio brought healthcare products.

Experts said that this year's active participation shows that Australian firms feel the urgent need to seek opportunities amid an economic quagmire back home.

"Given Australia's stagflation, if the country could revitalize or even strengthen its economic and trade exchanges with China, it would be something to look forward to, with the new government eager to revive the economy," Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Australian officials are also actively reaching out to Chinese officials recently, aiming to improve ties. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday held a phone conversation with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong. During the phone call, Wang said that the two sides should work together toward the goals of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, so as to rebuild mutual trust between the two countries and get bilateral ties back on track, according to Xinhua. 

Wong vowed that Australia will continue to adhere to the one-China policy and develop more stable and mutually beneficial relations with China on the basis of mutual respect, Xinhua reported.

While the Australian government, facing economic challenges at home, is apparently seeking to improve ties with China, Australian leaders need "political wisdom" to deal with US meddling and internal pressure in order to improve relations, Chen said.