Australian Trade Delegation Visits China

Australia’s Trade Minister Craig Emerson is currently leading a delegation representing more than eighty Australian businesses in a visit to a number of China’s so-called ‘second tier’ cities. The first stop on the Australian trade tour was the city of Guangzhou, the capital city of the Guangdong Province, where the delegation will meet with Vice Governor Zhao Yufang. Dr Emerson has noted that, as the Trade Minister of Australia, he will be concentrating his efforts on developing and strengthening trade relations with China, as well as Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and India, rather than pursuing trading partners further afield. The second stop on the itinerary of the Australian delegation was Changsha, the capital city of Hunan Province in south-central China, where they were met by the city’s Mayor Zhang Jianfrei and a delegation of top officials.

Primarily based on an individual city’s economic performance and potential for growth, China has an unofficial system of grading cities into first, second and third tiers. First tier cities include Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, however there is no clear-cut consensus as to which of China’s cities are considered to fall into the second and third tier. There is agreement, however, that the greatest potential for growth exists in non-first tier cities, hence the decision for the Australian trade delegation to focus attention on these areas.

China’s authorities have made it known that they will be pursuing the development of domestic consumer consumption, rather than putting too much emphasis on the export market. Measures to curb the country’s property market and rein in inflation have resulted in the rate of economic growth slowing down, leaving international markets wary. Nonetheless, Dr Emerson conveyed his confidence in China’s economy, and the ability of its government to achieve its goals. In an interview, Australia’s Trade Minister noted that the main purpose of the visit to China was to be present during this transformation of China’s economy. Despite some resistance by Australians, Dr Emerson noted that Australia should welcome the opportunity of Chinese investment in agriculture, which he believes will be a new chapter in beneficial trade relations between the two countries.