Article – China summit to help build two-way silk road

28 August 2015
Greg Earl
Australian Financial Review

The Chinese government wants to link its silk road infrastructure development initiative with the Abbott government’s plans to develop northern Australia, in a broadening of the potential business links to flow from the bilateral trade agreement.

NSW deputy consul-general Tong Xuejun said the idea of linking the development of northern Australia with the regional infrastructure initiatives that China is bundling up under its One Belt One Road program had been discussed at the strategic economic dialogue between Chinese and Australian ministers in Canberra in August.

“If the maritime silk road begins in China, then Australia is a major country at the other end,” Mr Tong said.

Mr Tong was speaking after the signing ceremony for a new venture by The Australian Financial Review to increase business ties between China and Australia after the expected implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement later this year.

The Australia China Business Summit (ACBS) joint venture with Fairfax Media Events was announced at the NSW Parliament at a function attended by former senior Chinese diplomat Sha Hailin, a member of the Shanghai Municipal Committee standing committee and president of the Shanghai Chinese Overseas Friendship Association.

Underlining China’s focus on pushing the trade deal through on its current terms despite the debate about Chinese workers coming to Australia, Mr Sha described it as a milestone in collaboration. He said the flow of capital, resources and personnel between the two countries would make the relationship deeper and benefit people in both countries.

The summit which will take place in April next year will examine the challenges and opportunities provided by the trade deal and China’s economic rebalancing which is one of the driving forces in global financial markets.

Fairfax Media Life Events & Media managing director Andrew McEvoy launched the event with ACBS chairman Jun Bian, chairman of the Sydney Shanghai Business Association, and representatives from the NSW government representatives and the Chinese business community including China Eastern, China Union Pay and the Bank of China.

Mr McEvoy said many existing events about China in Australia were too Anglo in nature and the Fairfax joint venture with the ACBS would be more focused on bringing a wide range of Chinese business people into the discussion.

Financial Review editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury said recent financial market moves had underlined the importance of China to Australia, making it even more necessary to understand the economic rebalancing process and how it is changing the business opportunities for Australian companies, which is what the summit will do.

The first of the annual events is expected to focus on trade, finance, education, agriculture and property but discussions are under way on a substantial presence of small businesses from both countries.

Nick Tan, a member of the organising committee, said preliminary events associated with the summit in Sydney and Shanghai had shown a strong level of interest in a joint Chinese-Australian business event in Australia, potential Chinese participants saying they would use the event to find business partners.

Courtesy of the Australian Financial Review

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