It is an honour to welcome Premier Li Keqiang, his wife Professor Cheng Hong and members of the Premier’s delegation to Australia.
As we mark the 45th year of Australia-China diplomatic relations, Premier Li’s visit is an opportunity to reflect on how much we have achieved and take steps to ensure our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership continues to strengthen into the future.
The visit underscores Australia’s and China’s shared commitment to promoting greater prosperity and security in our region, including through deeper regional and bilateral trade and investment liberalisation.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is a great example of what can be achieved when two countries work constructively together. One year into ChAFTA, tariffs have reduced dramatically with over 85% of eligible goods benefitting from lower tariffs, generating impressive growth in some exports; for instance, wine, pharmaceuticals and skin-care products.
Premier Li and I agreed this morning to press ahead with the next phase of ChAFTA implementation by commencing this year discussions on further liberalisation of services and investment.
Today, our two governments have signed an agreement enabling better access to the Chinese market for Australian meat producers and exporters, including for high-quality Australian beef, and offering better choice for Chinese consumers.
Premier Li has brought a high-level business delegation to Australia and I look forward to participating with him in talks with senior Australian and Chinese business leaders at the sixth CEO Roundtable in Sydney. Significant commercial arrangements are being signed during the visit demonstrating business confidence in the relationship.
Eight of China’s Provincial Governors are also visiting Australia for joint talks with the States and Territories, including six State Premiers and representatives from two Territories. Premier Li and I will join those talks later today.
We continue to build the architecture that underpins the relationship. Premier Li and I have agreed to establish a ministerial dialogue on energy as well as high-level dialogues on innovation and security.
To promote more exchanges between Australians and Chinese we are strengthening cooperation in areas such as vocational education and training and cultural exchange. We have also committed to supporting activities celebrating the Australia-China Year of Tourism 2017.
And I am pleased to announce that Australia will open a new Consulate in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, bringing the number of Australian diplomatic and consular posts in mainland China to five.
All of this adds significant new ballast to what is already a key bilateral relationship for both of our countries.
The Governments of Australia and the People’s Republic of China have:
Concerning the Economic Partnership
Agreed that Australia and China share a commitment to an open world economy.
Committed to advancing global and regional trade and investment liberalisation through the WTO, APEC, and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Signed a Declaration of Intent regarding the review of elements of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Agreed to commence discussions in 2017 to update the Australia-China Tax Treaty, with formal negotiations to commence in 2018.
Concerning Cooperation on Agriculture
Signed a Joint Statement on Enhancing Inspection and Quarantine Cooperation.
Signed a Statement of Intent between Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on Cooperation on Trade of Salmonid Products sourced from an approved country and processed in China for export to Australia.
Signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and China’s Food and Drug Administration on Cooperation in the Field of Food Safety.
Signed an Action Plan on Implementing Agricultural Cooperation Projects between Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and China’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Concerning Cooperation on Energy and Environment
Agreed to establish an Australia-China Ministerial Energy Dialogue.
Signed an Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation between Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Concerning Cooperation on Innovation, Science and Technology and IP
Agreed to establish an Australia-China Dialogue on Innovation.
Agreed that the priorities for the next round of the Australia-China Science and Research Fund would be advanced manufacturing, medical technology and pharmaceuticals, and resources and energy; and committed to funding of up to $6 million from each side.
Signed a Memorandum of Understanding between IP Australia and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China on Intellectual Property Cooperation.
Concerning Cooperation on Security and Development issues
Agreed to establish a High-level Security Dialogue.
Signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and China’s Ministry of Commerce for Strengthening Development Cooperation.
Concerning Cooperation on People Flows
Welcomed opportunities presented by the Australia-China Year of Tourism 2017 and agreed to implement activities throughout 2017 to further enhance bilateral cultural exchanges and people-to-people links.
Signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia’s Department of Department of Education and Training and China’s Ministry of Education on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training.
Reached agreement on the 14th Implementation Program for Cultural Exchanges under the bilateral Agreement on Cultural Cooperation.
Concerning Diplomatic Presence
Announced a decision by the Australian Government to open an Australian Consulate in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.
Concerning Cooperation with the States and Territories
The Chinese Government announced that it positively supports Australian state governments issuing Panda Bonds in China.
The State Government of Victoria and China’s National Development and Reform Commission have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding on Public-Private Partnerships in Infrastructure Fields.
And Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Li witnessed the signing of a:
Memorandum of Understanding between BBI Group and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation on Balla Balla Infrastructure.
Memorandum of Understanding on Facilitating the Australia-China CEO Roundtable between the Business Council of Australia and China Development Bank