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Australian PM Turnbull in China to promote trade

Staff writer |
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull began his first visit to China by calling for enhanced trade ties with Australia's biggest export market.

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Turnbull said he is "here to help Australian exporters' open doors which had been locked."

Delivering a keynote address at a gala luncheon in Shanghai, Turnbull noted that bilateral trade hit A$150 billion ($115 billion) last year, with China accounting for a third of Australia's total exports.

Turnbull, whose two-day visit to China coincides that of Australia's largest ever trade mission, including more than 1,000 business leaders, said China's demand for Australian natural resources like iron ore "has underpinned the greatest run of unbroken prosperity Australians have ever known."

At the same time, he acknowledged that China's shift away from resource-intensive industrial growth to a consumer-driven economy, which began in earnest five years ago, have caused Australia's terms of trade to fall by a third, calling that "inevitable."

Turnbull, who came to power last September, hailed the entry into force in December of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, calling it "the highest quality free trade agreement China has entered into with any comparable nation."

Turnbull is scheduled to hold separate meetings in Beijing on Friday with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqian.


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