A NEW Chinese-Australian agreement will help foster infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail links, the Federal Government said yesterday.
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the agreement, to be signed today, was aimed at creating jobs, tapping into economic opportunities and delivering better infrastructure.
"Australia's total trade with China exceeds $105 billion, making it the first nation with whom our two-way trade has gone past the $100 billion mark," he said.
China is Australia's largest two-way trading partner. It is also Australia's largest export market and its biggest source of imports.
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China infrastructure agreement signed
AUSTRALIA and China will work more closely on building infrastructure in each country under a new agreement.
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming signed the memorandum of understanding in Canberra today.
The two governments will now establish a working group with members from government departments, industry organisations and major financial and business partners to work on the commitments outlined in the memorandum.
These include closer co-operation in planning projects, exchanging information on investment opportunities and technical expertise, training and joint conferences.
There also is the possibility the two governments will build joint infrastructure projects in the future.
Infrastructure department secretary Mike Mrdak says the memorandum builds on the strength of the people-to-people relationships that have brought the countries together.
"This memorandum of understanding that we're signing here today cements exchange, training and cooperation between our two governments and our two peoples," he said.
Australia's total trade with China is more than $105 billion a year, and it is the first country with whom two-way trade has passed $100 billion a year.
Mr Albanese said Australia's investment in China, including in infrastructure, was almost $12 billion in 2010.
That's an almost six-fold increase since 2001.
Chinese investment in the Australian economy was almost $20 billion in 2010.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson and the director-general for overseas investment in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Chen Lin, joined the ministers after the signing.
Mr Albanese joked that the small crowd of attending media in Canberra was nothing compared to his last press conference in China when about 100 television cameras were present.
He and Minister Chen discussed the International Air Transport Association annual conference, to be held in Beijing in June, and the weather in the Chinese capital.
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