China, Aus­tralia ex­press sup­port for open mar­kets

For­eign min­is­ters reaf­firm value of good re­la­tions as talks con­clude

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHOU JIN zhou­jin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Aus­tralia ex­pressed sup­port for free trade and open mar­kets as they reaf­firmed their re­la­tion­ship on Thurs­day.

Both coun­tries ad­vo­cate free trade and ben­e­fit from it, State Coun­cilor and For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi told re­porters af­ter the fifth China-Aus­tralia diplo­matic and strate­gic di­a­logue with Aus­tralian For­eign Min­is­ter Marise Payne in Bei­jing.

The two coun­tries have re­duced taxes on goods traded with each other since the bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment went into ef­fect nearly three years ago, Wang said, adding that a fi­nal tax re­duc­tion will be im­ple­mented on Jan 1, af­ter which al­most all goods will be tar­iff-free.

China has never adopted a uni­lat­eral pro­tec­tion­ist pol­icy in trade; in­stead, it wel­comes more qual­ity goods from Aus­tralia en­ter­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket, Wang said, adding that he hopes Aus­tralia will pro­vide a more open and fair en­vi­ron­ment for Chi­nese in­vest­ment.

Payne told re­porters that Aus­tralia rec­og­nized the im­por­tance of wel­com­ing Chi­nese in­vest­ment, say­ing it had grown strongly over the past five years.

Aus­tralia “re­in­forced the im­por­tance of the value of Chi­nese in­vest­ment”, she said, adding that “we wel­come for­eign in­vest­ment be­cause it sup­ports jobs and helps in­crease liv­ing stan­dards”.

It was the first strate­gic di­a­logue since Aus­tralia’s new gov­ern­ment took of­fice and an im­por­tant con­tact af­ter bi­lat­eral ties went through twists and turns. It pro­vided a plat­form for strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion to face com­mon global chal­lenges, Wang said.

The di­a­logue de­fined the right di­rec­tion for China-Aus­tralia re­la­tions, Wang said, adding that the di­a­logue set the course for a more re­ward­ing jour­ney.

China hopes that Aus­tralia will cor­rectly un­der­stand China’s de­vel­op­ment path and strate­gic in­ten­tions, and strive to elim­i­nate the “mu­tual trust deficit”, he said.

He said that China al­ways ad­heres to peace­ful de­vel­op­ment and win-win co­op­er­a­tion, and has no tra­di­tion of ex­pan­sion or in­fil­tra­tion.

Wang said he no­ticed that the new Aus­tralia gov­ern­ment had made re­marks re­gard­ing China’s de­vel­op­ment as an op­por­tu­nity rather than a threat, be­liev­ing it will fur­ther trans­late its good­will to turn ties with China into prac­ti­cal ac­tion.

Payne said a pros­per­ous China pro­vides pos­i­tive en­ergy to the world, and Aus­tralia will not view it as a mil­i­tary threat.

She re­in­forced Aus­tralia’s com­mit­ment to deep­en­ing the com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship with China. Aus­tralia agreed to pro­mote bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas such as trade, agri­cul­ture, en­ergy, tech­nol­ogy, de­fense and law en­force­ment, she said.

Not­ing co­op­er­a­tion with Pa­cific is­land na­tions, Wang said that Bei­jing and Can­berra should be part­ners rather than ri­vals.

“We can co­op­er­ate in this re­gard, and there is no ze­ro­sum game,” he said, adding that China is glad to see coun­tries in the re­gion de­velop re­la­tions with China and Aus­tralia at the same time.

He said the two coun­tries could com­bine their strengths and em­bark on tri­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion with Pa­cific is­land coun­tries.

Payne’s visit co­in­cided with Aus­tralian Trade Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham’s first trip to China. Birm­ing­ham is at­tend­ing the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo where he wit­nessed the sign­ing of busi­ness deals to­tal­ing A$15 bil­lion ($10.9 bil­lion) be­tween Aus­tralian and Chi­nese com­pa­nies, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports.

We wel­come for­eign in­vest­ment be­cause it sup­ports jobs and helps in­crease liv­ing stan­dards.” Marise Payne, Aus­tralian for­eign min­is­ter

WANG JING / CHINA DAILY

State Coun­cilor and For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi meets the press with vis­it­ing Aus­tralian For­eign Min­is­ter Marise Payne in Bei­jing on Thurs­day.

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