China, Australia almost perfect partners: Australian CEO
Published: Mar 27, 2024 10:32 PM
China Australia Photo: VCG

China Australia Photo: VCG

China and Australia are almost the perfect partners, with the Chinese market to benefit the Australian public especially amid improved bilateral ties, Fortescue Metals CEO Dino Otranto told the Global Times on Wednesday in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024.

Otranto expressed a positive feeling about visiting Boao in South China's Hainan Province, noting that his team was able to engage with many participants in the region. The government perspective and the customers' perspective - particularly in the clean energy sector - have been very encouraging.

He added that the biggest highlight for him being in Boao so far was to see that Chinese and Australian businesses are absolutely steadfast now around their ambitions for the energy transition, and the partnerships are almost superseding some of the political tensions.

The Boao Forum for Asia 2024 in Boao, South China's Hainan Province on March 27, 2024 Photo: Xiong Xinyi/GT

The Boao Forum for Asia 2024 in Boao, South China's Hainan Province on March 27, 2024 Photo: Xiong Xinyi/GT

When commenting on China's business environment and efforts in attracting foreign investment, Otranto noted that the company is encouraged by what it is seeing on the ground, not just hearing, as the ecosystem is starting to open up on top of already consolidated strong partnerships.

Responding to the "decoupling" practices targeting China implemented by some Western countries, Otranto said that stability is key for global economic and industrial development, urging everyone to re-focus on stability and not get too caught up in current geopolitical tensions.

He noted that businesses have a leadership role to play, to demonstrate that the unity across the planet's supply chains now is so critical for everyone's development. "If you took China, the US or anything out of that sector, both will fail," Otranto added.

Otranto is among Australian executives who are upbeat about extending cooperation with Chinese partners amid improved bilateral relations, especially following Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's recent visit to New Zealand and Australia.

Improvements in the China-Australia bilateral relationship give Australian companies greater confidence about seizing trade and investment opportunities in the market, Vaughn Barber, AustCham China chair, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview earlier in March, with good prospects expected as bilateral relations welcome more positive signals with Wang's visit.

Barber said it's expected that China will become more important as Australia's trading partner of choice as complementarities between the economies continue to increase.

Another Australian firm, Woodside, told the Global Times in a previous interview that it has long-standing relationships with Chinese counterparties that have been mutually beneficial.

Economic and trade relations are the cornerstone for the China-Australia relationship, and they play a prominent role in promoting and stabilizing bilateral relations, Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

While Australian iron ore is a popular import commodity in China, China-made products are highly welcomed by Australian consumers, Chen said. He noted that bilateral cooperation in the energy and mining sectors will significantly boost the development of both sides, especially amid the current global economic situation.

He said that cooperation in the agriculture, fishery and dairy sectors has consolidated, while the two sides are exploring new opportunities in areas from clean energy to lithium batteries.