AUSTRALIA is hoping to secure export opportunities in China as a major trade event continues in Shanghai.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, trade minister Don Farrell and a slew of delegates representing state governments, businesses and trade sectors travelled to the China International Import Expo.

Australia’s presence at the trade expo has been seen as an opportunity to stabilise ties between the two countries.

The trade relationship between Australia and China over the past few years had been tainted by bans or restrictions on Australian exports including coal, barley and wine. China scrapped tariffs on Australian barley in August this year.

Mr Albanese in an opinion piece said demand for Australian products in China is one of the reasons why stabilising the relationship is important.

“I’ll always stand up for Australia’s interests, which is why dialogue is so important – especially in areas where there are differences.”

He said the “certainty and stability” made possible by a rules-based trade have helped Australia and China prosper.  

“Every country has a role to play in advancing trade that is both sustainable and inclusive,” he said.

“We do that by eliminating unnecessary barriers to trade and investment, by fostering a level playing field and by working towards inclusive economic growth.

“Hearing from Australian and Chinese CEOs in Shanghai, I know there are many more opportunities for our two nations to work together for our mutual benefit.”

Mr Albanese said China represents almost a third of Australia’s trade and interaction between the two countries directly impacts Australia’s economy.

“My approach to this important relationship has been patient, calibrated and deliberate. And it’s paying dividends for Australia, with the removal of impediments impacting exports of some produce, hay, timber and barley, and now a positive pathway for our wine trade.

“Between January and August, Australia exported $6 billion of these products to China, compared to $85 million in the same period last year.”

Federal trade minister Don Farrell said trade between Australia and China has delivered significant benefits to both our countries.

“My visit is another opportunity to advocate for Australian business, including for the full resumption of unimpeded Australian exports to China.”

Addressing the future of two giant pandas at Adelaide Zoo, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, Mr Albanese said he would like to see the pandas remain in Australia. The pandas are on loan to Australia from China as a symbol of friendship or goodwill, referred to as panda diplomacy.

“Let me just say this about pandas: I’m pro panda. Let’s be very clear. Pandas are wonderful animals.”

WA engagement

Twenty-three Western Australian agri-food and beverage businesses are represented at the China International Import Expo.

WA agriculture and food minister Jackie Jarvis said the state government was working with industry partners to elevate the profile of WA’s exporters and encourage connections with key markets including China.

“Trade events like the China International Import Expo are important avenues to showcase WA’s agri-food and beverage offerings on an international stage,” she said.

WA fisheries minister Don Punch said Western Australian seafood is being showcased at exhibition, marking a positive step forward for the state’s relationship with a significant trading partner.

“China has been a significant market for WA seafood in the past, and I will continue to work constructively with the Commonwealth, to see our rock lobster trade restored,” he said.

Victorian exports

Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas was set to lead a delegation of 50 Victorian businesses to the trade expo to promote the state’s exports.

According to the Victorian government, China is Victoria’s number-one overseas buyer of Victorian goods with sales topping $6 billion last financial year.

“Victorian sales abroad create thousands of jobs at home and that’s why we are so serious about taking the best of our state to the world,” Mr Pallas said.

“Joining with our great exporters and the Prime Minister in Shanghai will put Victoria front and centre on an important stage.”

Queensland trade mission

And Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is leading a “trade mission” aimed at strengthening the state’s trade relationship with China, supported by the state’s long-running Sister State Agreement with Shanghai and existing trade and investment partnerships.

Ms Palaszczuk said trade restrictions are easing as China rises to become Queensland’s top export market.

“Our state has a longstanding relationship with China that we want to see strengthen as confidence in trade and travel return,” she said.

“This will be a valuable opportunity to advocate for Queensland in one of the largest markets in the world and explore new ways we can work together in the future.”

Queensland products being exhibited include premium beef, seafood, horticulture, wine and beverages, processed food and health and wellness products.

China is Queensland’s largest goods export market for the 12 months to September 2023, valued at $23.7 billion.

The sixth annual China International Import Expo commenced on Sunday 5 November and is due to conclude on Friday 10 November.