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The Australia China Business Council (WA) last night hosted the Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Ambassador Ma in Australia at Perth's Matilda Bay Function Centre.
It was a successful evening, with keynote speeches from His Excellency and minister Mike Nahan MLA.
To begin the evening, the state president of ACBC WA Adam Handley welcomed the distinguished guests, and highlighted that Chinese investment has moved in WA from purely resource based investment to agriculture, tourism and others.
During his speech, His Excellency commented that Western Australia is the nearest Australian state to China and the only state with the same time zone as Beijing. He remarked that WA has a very special role in the Aus-Sino relationship, and quoted that 70% of all Australian exports to China is from WA. Ambassador Ma further commented that on the transforming nature of China and it’s growing domestic market. He felt that this will continue to provide a key opportunity across a number of Australia's industries, such as agriculture, tourism, financial services and others. Whilst he wouldn't give any dates and time-scales away; he mentioned that the Chinese government is speeding up FTA talks, and hopes to have talks finalised "as soon as possible".
Ambassador Ma commented that "we should broaden our cooperation whilst 'deepening' co-operation in the traditional areas". 'New areas' of co-operation His Excellency thought worth mentioning were high tech, finance and services industries. ACBC WA's state president Adam Handley then thanked His Excellency and reassured him that "we are committed to that goal".
Minister Mike Nahan MLA, representing the Premier, also gave a speech telling His Excellency that "we in WA know the importance of the relationship between WA and China". Minister Nahan said that whilst the last 10 years "built on the bedrock of Iron Ore" has been good, the government looks forward to seeing it growing even further.