by Duncan Murray
MELBOURNE, Australia, July 13 (Xinhua) — The 2019 Australia-China Economic Trade and Investment Expo (ACETIE), held from Friday to Sunday in Melbourne, capital of Australia’s state of Victoria, has struck an overwhelmingly positive tone, with representatives from both sides confident that bilateral trade will remain strong and continue to diversify well into the future.
The trade relationship between Australia and China is built on world-class industries, such as Australia’s agriculture and natural resources and the constantly innovating high tech manufacturing sector in China.
Following the signing of a free trade agreement in 2015, the relationship has continued to grow and Australia is now China’s seventh largest trading partner, while China is Australia’s largest trading partner.
“To be China’s seventh biggest trading partner is amazing and the growth just continues,” ACETIE committee Chair and former Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said.
“We’re seeing it again today, the enthusiasm, the expectation and the confidence that people are showing, (reinforces) that we can grow this relationship in a very powerful way.”
The latest in Chinese artificial intelligence technology wowed attendees and gave a glimpse as to how the China-Australia trade relationship may look in the future.
Automatic educational and service robots like those on display at ACETIE will undoubtedly play a significant role in the economy of tomorrow and investors are keen to be among the first adaptors of these game-changing technologies.
Similarly the popularity of clean and green Australian health products was evident, with the industry having exploded in recent years.
Another popular product at the convention was the Australian wine, which was appreciated by many people in China.
Owner of Kensington Wines Xu Guorong told Xinhua that she originally fell in love with the story behind Australia’s winemakers and felt that the culture should be shared.
“I was inspired by the spirit of the people behind the wine and when I got to know their stories I felt they needed to be more respected and well known amongst Chinese people,” she said.
Xu added that the simple and easy drinking nature of Australian wines makes them accessible and broadly appreciated.
“I think the environment and sunshine of Australia is very ideal for the growing of grapes and they produce high quality wines,” Xu said.
In 2016-2017, Australian wine exports to China were valued at over 500 million Australian dollars (351 million U.S. dollars), a 38 percent increase from the year before, and during the same period, one out of every four glasses of imported wine consumed in China was from Australia.
Stories such as this paint a bright picture for the future of trade between Australia and China.
Director of the Australian APEC Study Centre and former Australian Federal Minister for Trade and Competitiveness Craig Emerson said that the relationship will continue to diversify and strengthen.
“China and Australia have been friends for decades — that will continue into the future and today’s event is just another example of closer cooperation between the two countries,” Emerson said.