PM announces “Strategic Partnership”


During her April visit to China, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that leaders of Australia and China will meet annually for high-level leadership discussions.

The Australian Prime Minister and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China will convene the annual talks.
Australia becomes the first country in the Asia Pacific region to facilitate annual high-level face-to-face talks with China. Several European countries, including Germany and Russia, hold similar formal annual meetings.
Ms Gillard said the new Strategic Partnership reflected the importance both countries placed on the relationship.
The Prime Minister made the announcement in Beijing following meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, which she described as “positive and constructive.”
“We discussed the full range of issues of common interest, including trade, finance and investment relations, regional and global cooperation, people-to-people links, regional security issues, human rights and consular matters,” Ms Gillard said.
Under the agreement, Australia and China will also convene for an annual Foreign and Strategic Dialogue led by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and an annual Strategic Economic Dialogue led on the Australian side by the Treasurer with the Minister for Trade and led on the Chinese side by the Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
The announcement was made on the final day of Ms Gillard’s five-day visit to China in a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and is the result of months of intense negotiations. In mid-2012, Ms Gillard appointed senior bureaucrat, Dennis Richardson, to lobby Australia’s case in Beijing.
It is hoped the annual talks will give additional weight to stalled negotiations for Australia’s long-anticipated free trade agreement with China.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade between the two countries is worth nearly $130 billion a year. 
*Pictured: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard scored a number of high level coops for Australia during her April visit to China, including the Strategic Partnership announcement for annual talks between the leaders of Australia and China. (Picture reproduced courtesy of AustCham Beijing).


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