Australia-China trade depends on battlers, not billionaires

By Tim Harcourt

In fact the AGSM MBA Education course I teach “Doing Business in China” now includes western china – with Chengdu and Chongqing as well as the “Bright lights big city” of the coastal economic mega cities of Shanghai, Beijing and of course, Hong Kong.

This means opportunity for Australian architects like Place Design who moved their office from Brisbane to Chengdu to meet the insatiable demand for landscape gardening in Sichuan province, or Sunshine Coast horticulture company Bassett Bark that has found China to be a happy hunting ground.

For instance, Bob Hawke looked to China with his adviser Ross Garnaut’s report Australia and the North East Asian Ascendancy, Paul Keating supported China’s entry in the WTO, John Howard formed close ties with Hu Jintao on APEC, and Julia Gillard has her moment in Sino-Australian diplomacy with the renminbi currency conversion.

If Abbott is successful Australia will have forged a unique hat-trick of FTAs with our three most important trading partners – South Korea, Japan and China – in a year and a half.

In some ways, China’s development is as much about urbanisation as it is about globalisation and Australia will play a big role in servicing of the second and third tier cities, places like Chengdu, Wuhan, Chongqing, and Qingdao that my Chinese friends tell me are ‘country towns’.

According to ABS data, over 5600 Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) now export to China (plus another 4900 via Hong Kong) and over 3000 are based there and are succeeding.

Further, exports create jobs for Australian workers and China as our number one export destination plays and important role in improving conditions in the Australian labour market.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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