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.
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.