China and Australia will work together to safeguard the current global trade system while China further opens up to the rest of the world, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday. China will take action to send a positive signal of promoting trade liberalization and investment, Li said.
This will provide a continuous driving force for and raise expectations for the stability of the global economy, the premier said while meeting with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, in Parliament House in Canberra. Li said the world’s second-largest economy will work with Australia to make greater achievements in bilateral trade.
China will also work with countries including Australia to safeguard regional and global peace and stability in a complicated and changing world, where rising protectionism poses a variety of global challenges, he added.
Li is the first Chinese premier to visit Australia in 11 years, and this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. His eight-day trip to Australia and New Zealand, which began on Wednesday, is regarded as another reassuring gesture by Chinese leaders in the wake of worries across the world prompted by US President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach. Turnbull said Australia is willing to boost mutual trust to maintain stable and consistent cooperation with China in a world that is facing unprecedented geopolitical and technological changes.
Promoting global free trade is beneficial for all nations to achieve employment targets and economic growth, the Australian prime minister said. He added that his country will work with China to defend free trade and open markets, which will bring more benefits to both peoples.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement has boosted bilateral trade since it took effect in December 2015. According to the General Administration of Customs, trade between China and Australia hit $107 billion last year, making China the biggest trading partner for Australia for the eighth consecutive year. China had a deficit of about $50 billion with the Oceanian country last year.
Li, in a speech at Parliament House that was broad-cast live on Australian television, said, “We believe that to resolve trade imbalance, we need to continue to expand trade.” On Thursday afternoon, Li met with other Australian leaders, including Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Upper House of Parliament President Stephen Parry, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith and opposition leader Bill Shorten.