Australia-China Council

Economics and Trade

Australia’s and China have built a remarkable trade and investment partnership based on complementary interests, vision and entrepreneurship. China's growing middle class and intensive urbanisation is driving a demand for more sophisticated services, providing opportunities to diversify our trade relationship and to take advantage of Australia's strengths in services, agriculture, tourism and education.

ACC Goal: Economic Diplomacy – Promote diversity, growth and innovation of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China

The Australia-China Council: Our Work in Economics and Trade

Featured stories

sunset over field of crops

The China-Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative

ACC and Australia-China Business Council (NSW) are partners in the new project to further expand collaborations between Australia and China on food security.

More: The China-Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative

group of students wearing graduation hats, holding scrolls

The Lowy Institute 10th Anniversary China Changing Lecture in Beijing

The Lowy Institute 10th Anniversary China Changing Lecture was delivered in Beijing on 18 September 2013 by Andrew Michelmore, CEO of MMG Limited and Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia.

More: The Lowy Institute 10th Anniversary China Changing Lecture in Beijing

group of students wearing graduation hats, holding scrolls

New Ways to Connect with China: Tourism and International Education Nexus

The new report by the Victoria University, Central University of Finance and Economics (Beijing), Beijing and the Australia China Alumni Association (ACAA) supported by the Council looks at the connectivity between Australia's international education and tourism. It examines the critical yet often overlooked role of Chinese alumni of the Australian education institutions in Australian tourism industry.

More: New Ways to Connect with China: Tourism and International Education Nexus

David Daokui Li gestering towards a banner

China Changing Lecture 2012: Is China ready for global economic leadership?

The Australia-China Council is proud to support the Lowy Institute's third China Changing Lecture, presented by one of China's leading economists, Professor David Daokui Li on 19 April 2012 in Sydney

In 2012 China Changing Lecture, Professor Li discussed China's role in the changing global economic system.

More: China Changing Lecture 2012

group of young people holding the Australian flag

AustCham China Scholarship Program: Fostering the next generation of Asia-literate leaders

The China-Australia Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Australia-China Council and ANZ Bank offer the unique opportunity for Australian students to work in China. The AustCham China Scholarship Program provides a comprehensive career development platform designed to foster the next generation of Sino-Australian business leaders.

More: AustCham China Scholarship Program

Professor David Daokui Li
Professor David Daokui Li speaking at the Lowy Institute's third China Changing Lecture
Farming machine harvesting crops
Ord River agricultural area (Photo courtesy of the Australia-China Business Council)

Facts and Figures

China is now:

Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at A$125.1 billion in 2012)

Our largest export destination (A$78.7 billion in 2012)

Our largest source of imports (A$46.3 billion in 2012)

Source:DFAT China Country Brief

Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship

In 2011, HSBC projected that China’s economic growth would help to deliver a 7 per cent increase in Australian exports to China each year between 2012 and 2016.

The bilateral economic and trade relationship is diverse and continues to expand and broaden. China is now Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at A$125.1 billion in 2012), our largest export destination (A$78.7 billion in 2012), and our largest source of imports (A$46.3 billion in 2012).

Australia's services exports to China, valued at A$5.7 billion in 2012, are dominated by educational and recreational travel. China is Australia's largest source of overseas students, with 118,832 students studying in Australia in 2012.

DFAT People's Republic of China country brief provides comprehensive information on the bilateral economic relationship DFAT People's Republic of China country brief

Australia-China Free Trade Agreement logo

Australia-China FTA

Australia and China agreed to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement on 18 April 2005. Australia-China Free Trade Agreement

Feeding the Future: A Joint Australia–China Report on Strengthening Investment and Technological Cooperation in Agriculture to Enhance Food Security Feeding the Future

The Australia-Guangdong Business Cooperation Council was established in April 2013 through the Australian Government’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Guangdong Province of China. Guangdong has extensive economic ties with Australia, and the Council will expand Australia-China economic engagement through enhanced dialogue between business leaders and sectors. Australia-Guangdong Business Cooperation Council  

Country and region fact sheets provide an economic snapshot of selected countries and regions, including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Country and region fact sheets

Australia-China cooperation in global and regional trade and economic institutions:

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb with Chinese Minister for Commerce Gao Hucheng in Beijing on 21 November 2013
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb with Chinese Minister for Commerce Gao Hucheng in Beijing on 21 November 2013

Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australian Agribusiness

Cover of brochure

The new research by KPMG – University of Sydney China Studies Centre shows that despite perceptions that Chinese investors are buying up large areas of Australian farmland, China is not yet a major agricultural investor in Australia, and owns less than 1 percent of Australian farmland.

"Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australian Agribusiness" examines the scale and composition of Chinese commercial investment into the Australian agricultural and agribusiness sectors. It provides an analysis of the challenges faced by China in ensuring the security of its food supply and offers practical responses which could be taken by Australian companies to attract more investment.

Read the summary

Download full report [PDF]

Doing Business in China

New Government initiative: ‘Doing Business in China’. The Australian Government in partnership with peak industry bodies – including AustCham Greater China, the Australia China Business Council, the Law Council of Australia and the Business Council of Australia – is taking steps to minimise the severity and frequency of Australia-China commercial disputes. Find out more about the ‘Doing Business in China’

AusTrade (Australian Trade Commission) – China Market Profile, Insights and Opportunities, Tips for visiting and local business practices.  AusTrade – China Market Profile

Tourism Australia – Greater China Market Profile – Tourism Australia offers a comprehensive suite of information and services to assist Australian tourism businesses to take advantage of the rapidly growing China market.  Tourism Australia – Greater China Market Profile

Travel information

Funding and Grants

Asian Century Business Engagement Plan – a four-year program has been established to assist member-based business organisations harness commercial opportunities in Asia for small to medium sized Australian businesses. Asian Century Business Engagement Plan  

Access China – Victorian companies planning to establish new export markets in China may be eligible to use the facilities in the Victorian Government Business Offices (VGBOs). Access China 

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) targets groups in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors looking to enhance cooperation and develop linkages with China.

ACACA offers a special opportunity for Australian citizens to visit locations within China and to make business contacts that might otherwise not be possible. To enhance the value of the program for Australia, delegates are required to share key lessons and contacts from their visit with their broader industry. Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA)

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Administered by AusTrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industry sectors and products, including inbound tourism and the export of intellectual property and know-how outside Australia. Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)

Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) Grants are competitive merit-based grants on a matched dollar-for-dollar funding basis, to assist tourism operators increase the quality and range of visitor experiences in regional Australia. Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF)

Professional Associations

Australia-China Business Council (ACBC) The Australia China Business Council (ACBC) is the premier business organisation dedicated to promoting business and trade between Australia and the People’s Republic of China. ACBC is a membership-based organisation, with Branches in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria providing business-focused information and events for members in all industries. Australia China Business Council (ACBC)

The China-Australia Chamber of Commerce's (AustCham Beijing) overriding goal is to advance Australian Business in China. It functions to provide members with the information, resources and contacts they need to succeed in China. AustCham is a non-profit organisation which operates independently from government. It is funded entirely by our membership and Chamber activities. Together with its sister AustChams in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, AustCham (Beijing) works to promote strong trade and investment links between Australia and China. AustCham Beijing  

Australian Chamber of Commerce – South China(AustCham – SC), formerly known as the Australian Business Association in Guangzhou(ABA) and China Australia Chamber of Commerce – South China(CACC), was formed to promote, develop and expand business relations between Australia and China in the economic powerhouse of South China. AustCham South China

The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AustCham Shanghai) is a well-established and experienced organisation created to strengthen Australia-China business, government and community relationships in China’s Eastern region and promote Australia as a creative and reliable provider of innovative, high quality business solutions. AustCham Shanghai

Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong promotes and represents Australian business and values, while enabling members to connect, engage, and grow bilateral relationships in Hong Kong. The Chamber seeks to connect members with potential business partners, clients and supporting parties through matching and introductory services as well as a full schedule of more than 100 professional developments, informative and networking events each year. AustCham Hong Kong