Australian Prime Minster Albanese Visits China, Meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Posted by Written by Giulia Interesse Reading Time: 3 minutes

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to China, marked by active participation in the CIIE and strategic talks, emphasized the bilateral efforts to enhance trade relations and revive the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

On November 4, 2023, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese embarked on a significant four-day visit to China, highlighting the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Australia’s inaugural embassy in the country.

Kicking off his journey in Shanghai, he actively participated in the opening ceremony of the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) and led a delegation to engage with various Australian companies’ exhibition booths, fostering dialogue and cooperation between the two nations. Subsequently, in Beijing, Albanese met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the aim to further strengthen and advance Australia’s relationship with China.

Albanese’s much-anticipated visit to China marks the first trip by an Australian leader to the country since 2016, and notably his first visit as Prime Minister. It comes as a crucial step in ongoing efforts to mend strained relations, addressing critical challenges within the Sino-Australian relationship.

Albanese’s proactive approach in fostering constructive dialogue and cooperation reflects his commitment to rebuilding trust and understanding between the two nations, while also improving economic ties.

Albanese’s visit agenda

Albanese’s visit to China aims to bolster bilateral trade relations and address crucial market concerns, recognizing the substantial impact on Australia’s trade-dependent employment sector. His joint presence with Trade Minister Don Farrell at the CIIE serves to reinforce the positive momentum, signaling a commitment to expanding market access and imports.

Notably, with one in four jobs in Australia being trade-dependent, the prime minister’s active involvement in reinvigorating trade ties underscores the paramount importance of the economic partnership between the two nations.

Moreover, the Australian leader’s characterization of the relationship as “mature” underscored the depth of the bilateral ties and the acknowledgment of the mutually advantageous nature of their economic collaboration. Additionally, his emphasis on the role of rules-based trade in ensuring stability highlights the necessity of a structured framework for sustained prosperity and growth.

Albanese-Xi meeting

During the meeting on November 6, 2023, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Prime Minister Albanese and President Xi discussed the benefits of the longstanding diplomatic relationship. President Xi expressed satisfaction with the progress of the relationship and emphasized the need for continued strategic partnership.

The Australian leader emphasized the rapport being built between the two countries, highlighting the positive interactions and mutual respect. Recognizing the differences in political systems and values, Albanese emphasized dealing with each other on face value, prioritizing the representation of Australia’s national interests.

This diplomatic exchange underlines the significance of fostering constructive dialogue and mutual understanding between the two nations.

Australia’s participation at the China International Import Expo

Albanese’s participation at the CIIE was underscored by the active involvement of over 250 Australian firms. The Australian pavilion at the Food and Agriculture Pavilion, along with the dedicated exhibition halls for Australia’s Queensland and Victoria states, highlighted the diversity and strength of the Australian trade contingent. The “Taste Queensland” Pavilion at the CIIE, has showcased products from 25 different Queensland companies.

Queensland Governor Annastacia Palaszczuk’s leadership in the largest trade delegation in Queensland’s history accentuated the significance of the bilateral trade relationship, emphasizing a strategic push to fortify Queensland’s ties with China and broaden the scope of collaboration. China remains Queensland’s largest export market for goods, valued at AUD23.7 billion (US$15.4) as of September 2023. Additionally, China is one of Australia’s top ten investment destinations and a significant investor in Queensland. The country also represents the largest source of international student enrollments in Queensland, serving as a key market for international education institutions and industry.

Numerous small and medium Australian enterprises (SMEs) specializing in areas such as food, beverages, and healthcare aspire to increase awareness of their products among Chinese consumers through their participation in the CIIE. Additionally, they aim to leverage e-commerce platforms to expand their market reach in China.

The robust participation of Australian businesses at the expo also exemplifies the renewed sentiment of deepening collaboration between China and Australia, reflecting a concerted effort to revitalize and strengthen bilateral trade relations.

The relationship between China and Australia is primarily built upon a robust foundation of economic and trade ties. This is evidenced by the significant activity in trade, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, minerals, and services, leading to a notable surge in transactions.

Experts have also highlighted a positive outlook on potential collaboration in the field of clean energy suggesting a diversification of trade beyond the traditional focus on iron ore and agricultural products. Notably, the remarkable increase in exports of lithium ores from Australia to China, reaching a record high of AUD11.7 billion (US$7.6 billion) in the first half of 2023, compared to AUD470 million (US$306.3 million) just two years earlier, is an example which underlines the growing importance of this commodity in the bilateral trade relationship.

Moreover, China and Australia have reached significant agreements lately, particularly in resolving tariff disputes related to traditional trade items like wine and barley.

These developments indicate renewed access to various sectors, suggesting their recovery and promising opportunities for businesses and investors on both sides.

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