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May 14, 2012

With Shanghai Vice-Mayor Tu Guangshao in Shanghai on May 12, 2012

I met Shanghai Vice-Mayor Tu Guangshao in Shanghai on Saturday. We discussed the vibrant relationship between Australia and this important Chinese commercial centre.

Click here to read a transcript of the press conference following the meeting.

Transcript excerpt:

I spoke to Vice-Mayor Tu today, who is familiar with Australia, having worked with the Government of New South Wales on developing co-operation in financial services. And he spoke to me about the goal of seeing that Shanghai was an unmatched centre for trade and investment and shipping services and financial services, in the world, and my view is, in line with the thinking behind the Government’s commitment to the White Paper ‘Australia in the Asian Century’, is that that is good for Australia. Again, it is confirmation of what is good for China, the rise of China, is good for Australia.

I spoke about how many of Australia’s leading companies have established regional headquarters here in Shanghai, and that includes our four major banks. ANZ is Australia’s largest investor in Shanghai and China. I spoke about the growing investment and trade relationship, and I spoke about some specific Shanghai companies that had invested in Australia, including Shanghai’s Bright Food Group, which invested a 75 per cent stake in Australia’s Manassen Foods, the China Oil and Food [Corporation], which holds a large stake in Tully Sugar, and the Yishi Law Firm, which has opened in Australia. But I just want to share with you the figures I’ve been quoting recently on Chinese investment in Australia. It just strikes me as interesting that, in the five years since 2007, we’ve seen a twenty-fold increase in Chinese investment in Australia. That is confirmation of the integration, the economic integration that is taking place between our two countries. Those investments are worth an estimated $13.3 billion. There are many outstanding examples, including the Channar Joint Venture Ore Project, which celebrated its 25 years, and which is going to extend production to enable extraction of another 50 million tonnes; MinMetals’ investments across Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, with 7,000 employees in Australia; ChemChina, which has invested in chemical manufacturing; Chinalco, now one of the largest Chinese investors in Australia, through its stake in Rio Tinto and its share in Chinalco Yunnan Copper. We are beginning to see investment in agriculture. It confirms that Australia is a good site for Chinese direct investment, and I want to seize opportunities I’ve got here to remind the Government and Chinese business representatives of how sound a place we are in which to do business. To say on the way through that, of the 193 countries that make up the UN, it is important that China, that Chinese business recognises that Australia comes in thirteenth or fourteenth in terms of its economic strength. We are the thirteenth or fourteenth largest economy in the world, and of course the source of over 44 per cent of China’s imports of iron ore, and 25 per cent of China’s coal imports, and so on.

One Comment
  1. Ralf Kluin permalink
    May 15, 2012 8:34 am

    Hi Bob,

    Reported in today’s SMH, re your official China visit, written amongst other things, is a section in which the word ‘transparency’ is mentioned, concerning the process of “dual” citizenship as it may apply between our two nations. In my opinion, the Chinese Governments hard work to redistribute to their citizens, building a vast middle class, is one of the great economic policy processes ever undertaken in human history for which I can only applaud them. Furthermore, by their macro economic policy process, much of the world’s peoples are also benefitting, as is the case here in Australia. The Chinese process currently underway is an irreversible process from which we must all learn. For instance, physical productive processes cannot be fully reversible because once achieved they remain in place for all to see and the financial arrangements that made it happen are also usually non-reversible because much of the transaction costs have been settled upon. So the question of ‘transparency’ may not be the issue here. What may be the issue at work here, as it relates to our two nations, is what I would describe as our social mores, and this is a very complex process, as our respective value systems are deeply embedded in our psyches. You only need to see the impact some people are having, living amongst us in our society, who’ve seemingly, on a daily basis, denigrated people seeking asylum. I suppose that in an ever increasing peopled populated world, where economic trade lines are seeking to become ever more socially fluid, the need for all of us to live in harmony alongside one another is the real challenge for the survival of humanity, notwithstanding climate change. It is in this regard, that two way tourism, in my opinion, will continue to be of great importance between China and Australia.

    Best wishes to you Bob, and your department’s advisers.

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