Tonight at the Prime Minister's Economic Forum in Brisbane I announced that I will lead a delegation of Australian business leaders to Hong Kong and Beijing as part of the Government's agenda to deepen our economic and commercial ties in the region.
This high-level delegation will build on the Government's initiatives aimed at harnessing the opportunities of the Asian Century - which will be a key focus of the Economic Forum in Brisbane tonight and tomorrow.
The delegation will provide Australian business leaders with an opportunity to develop important business links with major Chinese companies and authorities at a key event in Beijing – the Australia China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum – to be hosted by the Australia China Business Council.
I will also host a gala dinner in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the People's Republic of China. Delegation members and key Australian and Chinese figures that have helped strengthen the bilateral relationship over the last four decades will be invited to attend.
China has undergone one of the most remarkable transformations in modern history since former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam instigated diplomatic relations 40 years ago.
China's dynamic economy continues to open to the outside world, bringing great opportunities for Australian businesses and the broader community. Its industrialisation and urbanisation process is larger than any the world has witnessed and will be a central feature of the global economic landscape in the coming Asian Century.
The Gillard Government has commissioned the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century to consider the coming economic and strategic changes in the region, and both the opportunities and challenges ahead.
This visit will be an excellent chance to discuss these rapid changes with my counterparts in China, as well as Chinese and Australian business leaders, to ensure that Australia is positioned to take advantage of the opportunities this will present.
Members of the business delegation are also invited to accompany me to Hong Kong for the RMB Cross Border Trade and Investment Forum, which will focus on the significant steps China is taking to promote the international use of the RMB for trade and investment. Given the booming trade relationship between our two countries and burgeoning two-way investment flows, the RMB internationalisation process is firmly in Australia's national economic interest.
Invitations for the business delegation are being issued, with invitees drawn from the resources, financial services, and science and technology sectors.
The delegation will visit Hong Kong on 11 July and Beijing on 12 through 14 July, with the Australia China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum and the 40th anniversary Gala Dinner both held on 13 July.