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Vaile to advance economic and trade interests in China.

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Media release

Wednesday, 21 April 2004 - MVT23/2004

Vaile to Advance Economic and Trade Interests in China Trade Minister Mark Vaile will meet Chinese leaders to advance key Australian trade and economic interests when he visits China from 21 to 27 April.

Mr Vaile will visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong - key locations for Australian trade interests. He will join regional economic ministers and senior business figures at the Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan Island on 24 April and will co-chair the 10th Joint Ministerial Economic Commission (JMEC) with China’s new Minister of Commerce, Mr Bo Xilai, in Beijing on 27 April.

“Australia and China enjoy a highly complementary trading relationship, bolstered by strong people-to-people links and the positive rapport that has developed between our Governments, ” Mr Vaile said.

“China is Australia’s third-largest trading partner and continues to enjoy economic growth rates among the highest in the world, offering a dynamic and expanding trading environment for Australian business.

“I will be meeting with key economic decision-makers to assist Australian companies in developing and furthering their links into the Chinese market and will take this opportunity to reaffirm Australia as a stable, reliable supplier of high-quality raw materials and to work together with China to make this healthy trading relationship even more of a win-win for both countries.”

Mr Vaile’s visit will also provide a timely opportunity to follow-up on key aspects of the Australia-China Trade and Economic Framework signed during President Hu Jintao’s visit to Australia in October 2003.

“I will discuss with ministers the Trade and Economic Framework and a range of issues to promote and strengthen two-way trade and investment,” Mr Vaile said.

“Australia and China have begun work on a free trade agreement feasibility study and JMEC will enable Minister Bo and I to progress the study.”

Mr Vaile’s program in China will intersect with visits by state ministers and business delegations from Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia, enabling joint participation in activities of mutual interest.

“The $25 billion LNG deal in 2002 and the recently announced BHP Billiton Wheelarra Joint Venture, which is expected to bring in more than $11 billion, are examples of the benefits to be gained through federal and state engagement with Chinese enterprise,” Mr Vaile said.

Contact: Matthew Doman on 02 6277 7420