SHANGHAI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is "a wonderful opportunity" to promote two-way trade and Australia's tourism among Chinese travelers, said Don Farrell, Australian minister for trade and tourism.
"The expo is a wonderful opportunity for Australian businesses to show their wares," the minister told Xinhua during the CIIE. "We are very excited to be here ... Bringing all these wonderful products to display here is an opportunity to increase our sales."
China is Australia's largest trading partner in goods and services, accounting for nearly one quarter of Australia's trade with the world, according to Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
China-Australia relations are mature with a complementary nature, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Sunday during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the CIIE and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum.
Traded goods and services have nearly doubled since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force in 2015, making more and more high-quality Australian products available to consumers in China and providing key inputs to Chinese businesses, he said.
Last year, two-way trade between China and Australia reached 220.92 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed. In the first quarter of this year, their total trade value surged nearly 11 percent year-on-year to 58.79 billion dollars.
"There's no reason why (there) can't be more than that," Farrell said. "Trade represents about one in four jobs in Australia. We think we can do even better than that, and we have a wonderful relationship with China."
The Australian minister also wants to leverage the CIIE to further boost his country's tourism among Chinese tourists, stressing that there's a lot of pent-up demand in the Chinese market.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the largest and most valuable market for the Australian visitor economy, with the number of Chinese holidaymakers hitting 1.4 million in 2019, according to the Australian Ministry of Trade and Tourism.
"Prior to COVID, it was over one million Chinese tourists a year coming to Australia. We'd love to see them back," Farrell noted, adding that all of the major carriers in Australia are expecting their coming back to Australian cities.
China has now become the second biggest source of international arrivals for Australia, after New Zealand, with short-term arrivals from China hitting 58,790 in August, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. ■