The Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP, is undertaking his first official visit to China today to strengthen the economic relationship with Australia’s largest two-way trading partner.

“China is Australia’s largest export market, largest source of overseas students and most valuable tourism market by expenditure,” Mr Pitt said.

In 2015, two-way trade between Australia and China was worth $150 billion. In the 12 months to June, 1.1 million Chinese tourists visited Australia, spending approximately $8.9 billion. In 2015, 136,000 Chinese students were studying on a student visa in Australia.

“The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), which entered into force on 20 December last year, is the highest-quality free trade agreement that China has ever entered into with a major trading partner.

“ChAFTA provides a strong foundation for developing the next phase of Australia’s economic relationship with China.”

In Guangzhou, Mr Pitt will meet Australian business representatives and visit innovative Chinese and Australian companies that are importing Australian goods into Guangdong.

“Guangdong province has a G20-scale economy. ChAFTA is making it easier for Australian products and services – including fresh agricultural produce – to enter this large and growing market,” Mr Pitt said.

In Shanghai, Mr Pitt will meet government officials and engage with Australian companies and financial institutions. He will be the keynote speaker at the first session of AccessChina’16, a five-day trade mission to Shanghai led by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.

“I am pleased to support Australian businesses looking to deepen their partnerships in China.

“As Australia’s top agriculture, forestry and fisheries export market, with exports valued at $11 billion in 2015, China is key to the future success of Australian agriculture.

“Southern Queensland is well placed to provide the high quality and safe produce that Chinese consumers are increasingly demanding.

“Businesses operating in the professional services, manufacturing, infrastructure and other sectors are also poised to deliver world-class products to China’s expanding markets,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt will also hear from Shanghai-based Australian students, who represent a key foundation for building solid links between Chinese and Australian people.

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