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​Address by H.E. Li Qiang
Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
At the Seventh China-Australia CEO Roundtable Meeting

2024-06-18 23:41

Perth, June 18, 2024

Prime Minister Albanese,
Friends from the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. It is a pleasure to meet friends, old and new, in the beautiful city of Perth. Fourteen years since its launch, the China-Australia CEO Roundtable has grown into an important platform for face-to-face exchanges between government and business of the two countries. When the co-chairs walked us through your morning discussions, I could sense your confidence in the future of business development and your hopes for closer cooperation.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Australia as well as the establishment of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. Amid overall progress in the past decade, China-Australia relations also experienced some ups and downs. Thanks to efforts from both sides, the relationship is returning to the right track, and showing a good momentum of steady improvement.

My current visit has brought me to three Australian cities. As I talked to friends across sectors, I felt a strong, widespread desire for a better relationship, and great expectations for deepening mutually beneficial cooperation. A review of the past 52 years of our diplomatic ties tells us this: As long as our two countries truly respect each other’s national conditions, system and core interests, we can cement the foundation of our mutual trust; as long as we engage in sincere dialogue, and accommodate and understand each other, we can properly manage differences and disagreements; and as long as we stay open and cooperative, and ready to help each other succeed, we can achieve more win-win results.

All these are valuable experience gained through practice and exploration, and should be duly cherished. They could give us the wisdom and inspiration needed to develop a right perception of each other, keep to friendly cooperation and make sure that our comprehensive strategic partnership will navigate through the ever-changing international landscape and keep moving forward.

Economic and trade cooperation is often seen as the “ballast” in state-to-state relations, and hence the business circle pay particular attention to the business ties between our two countries. I would suggest approaching the business relations from the overall context of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. Examining our relationship from a comprehensive and strategic perspective helps us get the big picture right.

First, China and Australia benefit from each other’s development; we are a close community of shared interests. For 15 years in a row, China has been Australia’s largest trading partner, export market and source of imports. Trade with China accounts for more than 30 percent of Australia’s total foreign trade. Decades of experience shows time and again that both our economies benefit when our economic and trade cooperation is sound and stable; and both economies suffer when our cooperation is in trouble. China’s development is an opportunity, not a challenge, for Australia. 

Second, our economies complement each other; we are natural partners for cooperation. Australia is rich in mineral resources and well-known for its agro-products, and has many leading technologies in sci-tech and industrial innovation. China, on its part, has a super-sized market of 1.4 billion people, a complete industrial system, abundant high-caliber innovators, and diverse scenarios for the application of innovations. Through cooperation, we can turn our complementarity into a robust momentum of development in both countries.

Third, China-Australia cooperation shows broad prospects; we are an important force for stabilizing industrial and supply chains and spurring economic growth. China’s huge market will continue to unleash demand, creating new room for trade and investment cooperation. China’s idea to develop new quality productive forces has much in common with Australia’s Future Made in Australia Act. There is enormous potential for bilateral cooperation in emerging sectors such as green development and digital economy. Both China and Australia are important players in the international industrial division of labor. Closer cooperation between us will help keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth, and inject more impetus into sustained recovery in both countries, the region and the world at large.

In China, we often say, “Be a business person, talk like a business person.” For business leaders of the two countries, to talk your business well and do your business well is in itself an important contribution to China-Australia relations and the global economy. Yet I encourage you to aim higher, make the pie of win-win cooperation bigger, and contribute more to the development of our two countries and to the world.

First, consolidate cooperation in the traditional areas. As you work to cement cooperation in agriculture, mining, and infrastructure, you may also work on extending the value chain, to make the strong stronger and sharpen your competitive edge. Second, explore new areas of cooperation. As China-Australia cooperation upgrades and global industrial landscape transforms, you may dig into new cooperation opportunities in trade, investment and innovation, and lose no time in making the most of them. Third, lay the groundwork for the industries of the future. You may want to strengthen forward-looking planning in sectors such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology, and life science, and jointly nurture potential growth areas for future China-Australia cooperation. What’s more, I would encourage you to venture out of the business world from time to time and be more than a business person: to contribute your share to China-Australia exchanges and cooperation in a wider range of areas, and serve as a bridge for greater understanding and friendship between our two countries. China and Australia have agreed to provide each other with multiple-entry visas of up to three to five years’ duration for tourism, business, and visiting family members on a reciprocal basis. China will also include Australia in its unilateral visa waiver program. You are most welcome to visit China more.

Let me conclude by saying that the business opportunities in China-Australia cooperation are boundless; as boundless as the Pacific Ocean. Right now, China is considering major steps to further deepen reform across the board and steadily expand institutional opening up. The business environment in China will get better and better. I hope the business leaders will seize the opportunities and join hands to produce more fruitful outcomes from development and cooperation.

Thank you.

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