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Premier: China wants more trade despite deficit to Australia

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Mar 23,2017 7:05 AM

Premier Li Keqiang is expected to discuss matters pertaining to globalization, regional stability and bilateral trade ties in a closed-door meeting with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on March 23.

Premier Li is a consistent supporter of more trade, not least with Australia which runs a surplus vis-à-vis China, its largest trading partner.

A welcoming ceremony on March 23 is to be followed by a slew of events in both Canberra and Prime Minster Turnbull’s hometown Sidney. It is a demonstration of the importance they both attach to this visit, the first by a Chinese Premier to Australia since 2006.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in December 2015, has proved a solid pillar to China-Australia trade in this testing time for the global economy, though figures show China runs a deficit of billions US dollars last year.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade between the two countries was $107 billion last year, making China the biggest trading partner for Australia for the eighth consecutive year.

However, economic and political uncertainties are rising in the global context with increasing sentiment of protectionism posing risks to globalization and free trade.

The meeting between Premier Li and Turnbull is expected to show both countries’ strong commitment to regional and global frameworks for free trade, stability and globalization.