Executive summary and recommendations
entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 and the opening up of its
domestic markets to international competition has transformed the country. Over
recent years, China
has experienced sustained rapid development and implemented wide–ranging
economic reforms, including the lowering of trade and investment barriers. In
opening up its markets, China
has become a dynamic, strong and expanding economy offering opportunities for
countries such as Australia
to strengthen and deepen links. Even so, significant obstacles hinder trade
Barriers to trade with China
The committee found that in some cases there were grounds
for Australian businesses to consider China
a 'risky place to do business'. Evidence pointed to a legal and regulatory
environment that is complex, time-consuming, expensive, uncertain and at times
is a country that, despite reform, still has inadequate legal protections, poor
corporate governance, intellectual property rights violations, government
interference particularly at the local level and corruption. In respect of
intellectual property rights, Mr Ian
Heath, Director of IP Australia, stated that
'counterfeiting is rife' across most industrial sectors in China.
Other witnesses complained that it is common practice in China
'to simply copy products without fear of reprisal.'
More generally on corporate governance and corruption, the
committee notes the conclusions drawn in a recent OECD Policy Brief on China's
Corruption is one of the most important problems in China
today...more attention should be paid to reviewing areas prone to corruption,
eliminating opportunities for corruption and creating conditions conducive to
Aspects of the business environment in China
also discourage Australian investors. For example, the committee chronicled a
long list of impediments for foreign businesses wishing to invest in the
minerals sector in China.
The Minerals Council claimed that 'there are restrictions to minerals
investment in China
at nearly every point in the process'.
The committee urges the Australian government to increase its efforts in
bilateral, regional and multilateral fora to encourage China
to remove its barriers to trade and investment, particularly non-tariff
Corruption was also cited as a major difficulty for
investors. A recent OECD report concluded:
Despite significant efforts from the CPC and government leaders,
corruption remains a serious problem for both citizens and businesses,
particularly for foreign direct investment. It continues to pose a significant
challenge as a particular feature of the transition process.
Poor corporate governance is a sure breeding ground for
recommends that the Australian government increase its efforts through the WTO,
Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and bilaterally to encourage China
to promulgate laws that comply with the WTO and to ensure that they are
interpreted and applied consistently and without discrimination throughout the
country. In particular the committee cites the contract and intellectual
property laws and local government intervention as areas of most concern to Australian
The committee believes that Australia
is well placed to encourage and assist China,
in a practical way, to achieve a more open economy and efficient markets. For
example, in light of Australia's
experience in reforming its corporate law, it is able to provide a model and
practical assistance to China
in its endeavours to develop a better corporate governance regime.
The committee recommends that the
Australian government place a higher priority on developing and implementing
practical measures to assist China
manage its transition from a planned economy to a market economy, especially to
improve its corporate governance regime. For example, by facilitating exchange
programs between Chinese and Australian departments or agencies or offering
special training and education programs for Chinese officials in the area of
In addition to its efforts in
regional and multilateral fora, the committee urges the Australian government
to monitor and report Australian businesses' complaints on provincial
regulations. Austrade emphasises that
Australian companies must be prepared for sudden changes in Chinese government
policy, and that business conditions and policies in different regions of China are 'very diverse'. For large Australian investors in China, it can be difficult to establish a national
operating system. There is also
evidence that foreign companies receive less favourable treatment than local
Recommendation 3 (see also recommendation
recommends that Austrade establish a system for handling complaints on China's
provincial regulations. This system would:
encourage Australian companies to register such
record the complaints in a central register and
monitor their management;
disseminate information about these complaints
among the Australian business community; and
report the complaints to the Australian
significant opportunities for Australian agricultural exporters in China.
The size of China's textiles industry—and the fact that it has not moved to
become self-sufficient—presents Australian cotton growers with a large export
market. Australian Pork Limited anticipates that 'as the Chinese market
develops and consumer incomes rise, there are likely to be significant
opportunities for high quality products from 'clean green' countries such as Australia'. Dairy Australia
anticipates that China's
consumption of cheese will increase from its current low base as incomes increase
and the diet westernises. However, 'most older Chinese still find the taste and
smell of cheese offensive' which may mean that imported cheese products will
have to adapt in the short-term to be competitive in certain regions in China.
The committee recommends that Australia's
agricultural exporters—in cooperation with key government agencies such as the
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Austrade—put particular
effort into researching the China
market. There will be significant export opportunities for Australian primary
producers as China's
incomes rise and the restrictions on trade are removed (see recommendation 14).
For these opportunities to be recognised, it is imperative that Australian
exporters have up to date information about consumer tastes and producer
requirements as they vary from region to region.
The committee notes the
concern expressed during its inquiry about Australia's
reliance on the export of raw materials to boost its balance of trade figures.
For example, taking a longer term look at the pattern of Australia's exports,
Mr Martin Feil, a former director of the Industries Assistance Commission,
pointed to the fact that Australia adds 'virtually no value to natural
resources and raw materials other than extraction and some logistical services'. The Australian Manufacturing Workers'
Union (AMWU) noted that for every plasma television Australia
imported, it had to export 'in the vicinity of 150 tonnes of iron ore'.
There has been strong support for the
Australian government to have an overarching national policy on manufacturing
to address China's challenge. This was
recommended by both the Australia–China Business Council (ACBC) and the AMWU in their submissions to
the committee. The committee
supports this proposal. It believes that two key pillars of a national
manufacturing policy must be to fund and coordinate research and development in
value-added technologies, and to support skills development in technical education.
Although the level
of industry expenditure on research and development (R&D) was higher in
2003–04 than when the Howard government came to
office in 1996, it is still less than one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
On this basis, Australia
ranked 15th among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) nations. The
weakness of Australian investment in R&D has also been reflected in Australia's
$85.4 billion balance of trade deficit in elaborately transformed manufactures
(ETM) in 2004–05. This deficit has acted as a constraint on national growth and
reinvestment in research and development.
recommends that as part of a national strategy to promote innovation and
value-adding in manufacturing, the Australian government must develop a wider
range of incentives for CSIRO, the universities, private sector research
centres and manufacturing companies to collaborate and invest in research and
The committee is
also concerned that Australia
has the workforce to complement this focus on a high-tech, value-added
manufacturing sector. It is important that the manufacturing and technical
education sectors continue to collaborate to ensure the supply and flexibility
of the skills base.
recommends that the government follow through with recent initiatives to
improve the manufacturing skills base, particularly the creation of independent
technical schools and a streamlined national system of apprenticeships.
praised Austrade, the consul generals and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in
Beijing and Shanghai
for their assistance in establishing Australian businesses in China.
Calder of the Western Australian branch of
the Australia–China Business Council noted that these organisations are
'extraordinarily helpful in terms of acting as an interface between the local
community and the Australians going up there [China]'.
recently established several offices in large regional cities such as Ningbo,
Xian, Chendu, Nanjing and Qingdao. In 2005, the number of Australian
companies that Austrade assisted in China
was more than double the corresponding number for 2002. It is important that these networks
continue to develop to assist large and small to medium sized manufacturing
enterprises establish an export market or investment base in China.
committee recommends that Australian government agencies strengthen the
coordination of efforts to promote Australian exports to, and investment in, China
and East Asia. To this end, it is important that
Austrade continues to establish offices outside of Shanghai
and Beijing, and to develop further
the avenues for consultation between large and small Australian manufacturers
operating in China.
growing demand for minerals and energy has created enormous opportunities for
Australian companies to both export their commodities to China
and to assist China
with some of the problems they are grappling with such as environmental
degradation. Environmental degradation is a serious problem in China
and one that is worsening as the country accelerates down the path of
industrialisation. Australia needs to join the international community in
helping China better manage its economic development in a way that will not
only prevent further damage to its environment but help China repair damage
already done. In the bilateral context, Australia
can make a contribution. It has the research and development capacity to assist
should place a high priority in using this capacity to participate in joint
ventures with China
to combat its environmental problems.
believes that Australia
and China, who
are major greenhouse emitters and rely heavily on fossil fuels for their
energy, have much to achieve in the area of research and development toward the
use of cleaner fuels and renewable sources of energy. The committee commends
the work being done by Australian private enterprises, institutions such as
CSIRO and state governments jointly with Chinese organisations to address
conservation and climate change matters.
The committee recommends that Australia as a major exporter and
consumer of coal take a lead role in promoting the cleaner use of fossil fuels
and encourage further joint research and development between China and
Australia in the area of environmental protection and climate control.
has established its name in China
as a preferred country for the education of its students. The education market,
however, is highly competitive and Australia
must match or better other countries in the quality of the education services
it offers if it wants to maintain or expand market share. To remain
competitive, Australia must ensure that it maintains and promotes its
reputation as a safe place for young students, that conditions for entry and
stay in Australia do not discourage overseas students and finally, that the
reputation of Australia's educational institutions and the quality of their
education remains high.
The committee recommends that the Australian government:
closely with the states and educational institutions to support and promote the
work being done to enhance the welfare of overseas students in Australia;
consultation with state governments and educational institutions review the
visa requirements for overseas visitors with a view to allowing greater access
for foreign students; and
lead role in discussions with Australian and Chinese educational institutions,
professional bodies and responsible government agencies to achieve mutual recognition of qualifications across all
The Australian tourist market
is poised to benefit from the increasing number of Chinese now travelling
has the opportunity to build on its reputation as a desirable place to visit
and to capitalise on the potential for growth in this market. The industry,
however, should not simply look to China's
expanding market to bolster their productivity nor rely solely on Australia's
natural attributes to attract Chinese tourists. The findings of a 2003 survey
and the observations of the Chinese Ambassador to Australia,
Her Excellency, Madam Fu Ying
suggest that Australian providers should lift their standards.
The committee believes that
there is no place for complacency or lack of imagination in the tourist
industry. It must ensure that service delivery standards are high and meet the
expectations of Chinese visitors. This would apply not only to private
enterprise concentrating on accommodation and tour guide services, shopping and
recreational activities but to governments who have a role in promoting the
industry and ensuring the processes involved in visa applications, customs
clearance and entry requirements do not discourage tourists. Australian
governments are also responsible for ensuring that the infrastructure is in
place—for example transport facilities, airports, roads and rail, that will go
toward making a tourist's stay in Australia
The committee recommends that:
Australian tourist industry and the federal, state and local governments and
their respective agencies, work together to identify the areas that Chinese
tourists consider could be improved;
this study, the Australian tourist industry direct its energies to assist or
encourage service providers to make appropriate changes;
government note the criticisms raised by witnesses in this report about visa
requirements, and review these requirements and the procedures for processing
visa applications and clearances through customs;
government place a priority on extending the Approved Destination Status (ADS)
program beyond the regions now covered by the scheme;
Australian government, in planning and allocating funds for infrastructure
development or in attracting investment for infrastructure development, take
account of the increasing importance of Australia's tourist industry to the
Australian economy and devote resources to ensuring that transport and
associated travel facilities are of a high standard; and
Australian government acknowledge the work being done by local councils such as
the Wollongong City Council in attracting tourists to their region and supports
such councils in their endeavours to boost Australia's tourist industry, for
example through the promotion of such regions as part of Australia's tourist
The committee has made a
number of recommendations addressing problems arising from restrictions placed
on people from China
applying for visas. These were concerned with students and tourists. Evidence
suggests that Australia
could do more to facilitate the travel of Chinese business people to Australia.
also do more to assist Australian business people travelling to China.
The committee believes that Australia
should not wait for a free trade agreement to provide easier access for
business travellers between the two countries. It acknowledges the work that Australia
has done in encouraging APEC members to support the APEC business card but
believes that the Australian government should review the visas requirements
for Chinese people wanting to travel to Australia
to conduct business in Australia.
recommends that the Australian government:
the visa requirements for Chinese people seeking to conduct business in
Australia with the intention of improving their access to Australia; and
with the relevant Chinese authorities to improve access conditions for
Australians intending to visit China to conduct business. This matter of easier
access to China for Australian business people should be a priority in the Free
Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations but Australia should not wait for the
finalisation of this process to reach agreement with China.
An Australian FTA with China
must be pursued concurrently with opportunities for multilateral trade
liberalisation through the WTO. The focus of the current Doha Round is to
assist developing countries by cutting agricultural protection. The Australian
government has strongly supported this agenda.
However, the most recent Ministerial Conference in Cancun,
Mexico, in September 2003
failed to achieve consensus on cutting protection for farm products. Some
developed nations—notably the European Union (EU)—insisted that progress on
reducing agricultural tariffs and subsidies should be conditional on addressing
the so-called 'Singapore
issues': investment, competition, transparency in government procurement and
trade facilitation. Certain developing nations opposed the inclusion of the Singapore
issues, believing they were irrelevant to their interests. This impasse contributed to the
failure of the Cancun negotiations.
recommends that the Australian government continue its support for the Doha
Round of multilateral trade negotiations, most immediately through the sixth
WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005.
supports the Australian government's recent decision to negotiate an FTA with China
and accord China
'market economy status'. China
should be treated the same as Australia's
other WTO trading partners. In principle, the committee supports abolishing
tariff and non-tariff barriers across all sectors within the shortest possible
timeframe. The modelling clearly shows that this course will reap the greatest
overall benefits to both nations.
recommends that the Australian government conclude an FTA with China
that abolishes tariffs and addresses the range of non-tariff or 'beyond the
border' issues. Australian negotiators must:
that the FTA is comprehensive covering all sectors including the services
wherever possible, with China's efforts to conform to WTO standards on
intellectual property rights;
China to reduce its subsidies for local industry;
China to adopt the WTO's sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreements for
China to develop greater transparency and uniformity in its corporate tax
The progress of
FTA negotiations to date is promising. The committee shares DFAT's insistence that
future negotiations continue to consult widely with the Australian community
and that, once implemented, there is a timetable for periodic review. However, there is likely to be
significant opposition to the FTA from the Australian manufacturing sector and
parts of both the Australian and Chinese agricultural sectors.
recommends that the Australian government consult extensively with stakeholders
in the negotiation phase of the FTA. It is important that both the process and
the outcomes of the FTA gain credibility and acceptance in the wider community.
To this end:
important the various stakeholders recognise that China's different systems of
law and government may produce an FTA unlike the Australia–US agreement
should be a timetable for periodic review of the FTA during the implementation
understanding of the Chinese business world
business environment in China
presents challenges for Australian enterprises doing business there. Australian
business people should understand the legal and regulatory framework operating
in China to
ensure that they are fully aware of the legal and business implications of any
decision or agreement entered into and are in a position to protect their
interests adequately. In particular, Australian business should not
underestimate the influence of provincial or municipal bodies in China.
recognises that government agencies and private organisations have taken on
board the importance of having well-informed Australian business people
operating in China.
It believes, however, that more could be done in this area. It believes that
the government needs to take the initiative to ensure that Australian students
are exposed to the study of Chinese culture and have the opportunities and
incentives to undertake further studies in Chinese languages and culture. This
requires governments to think more creatively and ambitiously about providing
incentives and opportunities for students to pursue advanced studies in Chinese
languages and culture.
recommendations are targeted specifically to ensure that Australia
has a pool of Australians, proficient in the Chinese language and with a sound
appreciation of the Chinese culture, ready to advise business and governments
on business practices in China.
The committee recommends that, to ensure there is a pool of highly
skilled China experts in Australia ready to advise government and business
leaders on developments in that country, the Australian government:
endorse and sponsor 'in country' training of students at the tertiary and post
graduate level where Australian students are supported in undertaking studies
private enterprises, particularly large firms with established business links
in China, to provide more scholarships for tertiary students which would
include work experience with companies conducting business in China; and
Australian tertiary students, through the use of scholarships and sponsorships,
to undertake the study of a Chinese language and/or Chinese culture in
combination with another discipline such as law, economics, commerce, actuarial
studies, architecture or engineering (also see recommendation 21)
The following recommendation
builds on the previous recommendation but is concerned more with market
intelligence. There are potential social, political and economic factors that
could derail China's
economic progress. The committee believes that, in light of changes taking
place in China
growing importance to Australian exporters, it is becoming increasingly
important for governments and businesses to be well informed about China's
market. It believes that the Australian government has a responsibility to
ensure that sound market intelligence is available and disseminated throughout
the Australian business community based not only on an understanding of China's
market place but on a appreciation of the social culture and political factors
likely to impinge on the performance of China's economy. The committee found
that it is important for Australian companies to understand the diversity and
complexity of China's
market and to be well placed to adapt to and manage change. Adequate
information flows and a sound knowledge of the particular tastes and
preferences of Chinese consumers underpins the success of foreign companies in China.
It believes that Australia
needs to monitor developments in China
and the region and have specialists available who are able to analyse events
and accurately predict future trends.
Recommendation 16 (see also
recognises a need for Australian business, especially small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), to be part of an effective communication network so they
can benefit from the experiences of others conducting business in China,
especially those with established business associations in China. It recommends
that the Australian government improve the dissemination of market intelligence
about China in Australia
a forum whereby Australian businesses can meet and discuss their experiences in
conducting business with the Chinese;
a more effective communication network in Australia that will alert Australian
companies intending to conduct business in China, or already doing so, to the
deficiencies in China's legal framework;
the focus on facilitating the formation of strategic partnerships between Australian
and Chinese companies; and
the concerns about the poor quality of data available on Australia's trade in
services with a view to identifying ways to improve the current system of
The committee also believes
that the Australian government has the responsibility to ensure that there is a
whole-of-government approach to China
and that the states and the federal governments together with their respective
agencies are working co-operatively as partners in pursuing their particular
interests in China.
recommends that the Australian government adopt a whole-of-government approach
whereby all departments that have an interest or involvement in matters dealing
with China have
on staff who form part of an Australian-wide departmental and agency network.
Without doubt, China
has made progress toward reform in some areas of human rights. Organisations
such as Amnesty International, however, argue that serious and widespread human
rights violations are still perpetrated across the country. In its 2005 report, it concluded:
Tens of thousands of people
continued to be detained or imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human
rights and were at high risk of torture or ill-treatment. Thousands of people
were sentenced or executed, many after unfair trials. Public protests increased
against forcible evictions and land requisition without adequate compensation.
believed that Australia
could do more to encourage China
to improve its human rights record. In particular, some emphasised that a timid
approach could do more damage than good to Australia's
relationship with China.
Most urged the government to participate in strong and vigorous debate.
The committee believes that
the public allegations about the surveillance of Falun Gong practitioners in
Australia requires the Australian government to offer assurances that any such
allegations are or will be investigated and the findings of those
investigations made public. The committee also believes that in light of these
allegations, it would be timely for the government to make a public statement
to the effect that all people residing in Australia
are entitled to enjoy their fundamental freedoms without interference from any
individual, organisation or government.
The committee recommends that the Australian government place on the
public record a statement making clear that all people resident in Australia
are entitled to the protection of its laws and to exercise their fundamental
freedoms without interference from any individual, organisation or government.
believes that Australia
and China could
take better advantage of the human rights dialogue to promote the protection of
human rights. There are people not only in Australia
but in China
who want confirmation that both countries are committed to advancing the rights
of individuals. Both countries should welcome the opportunity to present an
accurate assessment of the work they are doing to improve their human rights
record. They should not shy away from showing the world their short comings and
achievements in protecting human rights. The committee believes that the human
rights dialogue provides an opportunity for Australia
and China to
demonstrate to the peoples of both countries and more broadly to the
international community that they are strong advocates of the protection of
human rights. Such demonstration cannot take place behind closed doors and be
further masked by bland statements about progress.
endorses the recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee
on Foreign Affairs and Trade but
believes that additional measures should be taken to improve transparency in
the dialogue process.
The committee recommends that Australia encourage China, as part of the human rights dialogue, to
reach an agreement that both countries:
an informative agenda on the human rights dialogue before the dialogue
public a joint statement immediately following the talks that provides a
detailed assessment of the progress made since the last meeting, a discussion
of the topics considered during the dialogue, and the agreements reached for
future action; and
with non-government organisations (NGOs) working in the area of human rights
before each dialogue, or at the very least find a more effective way to engage
them in the process.
The committee believes that
such a measure, while still taking account of the need for both parties to be
able to talk frankly about sensitive issues in private, would add greatly to
the value of the talks.
A number of
witnesses criticised China
for not adhering to international labour standards. They cited as major
concerns, systemic exploitation of women in the workplace, discrimination
against and victimisation of migrant workers, frequent occupational health and
safety failings, excessive work hours, denial of the right to form independent
trade unions and to hold peaceful protests, and harsh recriminations, in some
cases imprisonment, for workers who speak out against working conditions. There have been roughly one million
industrial accidents in China
each year since 2001.
notes that China
has ratified only three of the eight International Labour Organization Conventions on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work.
It believes that a trade
agreement would not be the most effective way to ensure that all enterprises in
China abide by
international labour standards. The issue extends beyond Australian businesses
in China and
requires multinational cooperation. This does not mean that in consultations
with China on
the FTA that Australia
ignore the matter. Indeed, the Australian government should take every
opportunity, including the negotiations for a FTA, to raise Australia's
concerns about violations of human rights and labour standards in China.
The FTA consultation process should provide the opportunity for Australia
to express its concerns and urge China
to adopt international standards. The committee believes, however, that
concerted pressure applied through multilateral fora would be a more productive
way of convincing China
of the need to improve its record on labour standards.
20 (also see recommendation 13)
The committee recommends that Australia join with other countries that have
ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions to urge China to adopt all the conventions and to
improve their observance of core labour standards of Chinese workers.
recommends that the Australian government consult with NGOs and businesses
operating in China
with a view to formulating a policy on how they could jointly best promote the observance
of core labour standards in China.
The committee recognises the
vital role that education plays in promoting greater understanding and affinity
between the Chinese and Australian people. Education at the primary, secondary
and tertiary levels provides an effective means through which 'China
literacy' can be formally promoted, equipping Australian children with the
language skills and knowledge base to interact successfully with China.
The committee urges the federal government to adopt a more proactive stance in
encouraging the development of greater China
literacy. If Australia
is to gain the most from our growing relationship with China,
it needs the capacity to understand and identify how, where and when
opportunities to draw closer to China
arise. The committee recommends that the Australian government and state
governments take a far more active and constructive role in improving China
literacy in Australian schools.
Recommendation 22 (see also recommendation
recommends that the Australian government place a high priority on encouraging China
literacy in Australia
with the state and territory governments to reinvigorate the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS)
strategy to promote the study of Asia across subject areas at both the primary
and tertiary level and to support and encourage teachers to develop their Asia
more support for in-country language training for undergraduates and post
graduates and encouraging and supporting universities to create degree
programmes that incorporate in-country experience;
'double degrees' for example by setting up scholarships in a discipline
combined with Asian language/cultural studies; and
incentives, such as scholarships and sponsorship to encourage Chinese students
to apply for courses in the humanities and social sciences.
recommends that the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) take a
more active role in working with Australian educational institutions to develop
an effective alumni programme.
In light of the evidence
suggesting that Australia
may not adequately value the contribution that the Chinese community in Australia
has made, and continue to make, to Australia's
development as a nation, the committee makes the following recommendation.
recommends that the Australian government embark on a number of initiatives
that would give greater recognition to the contribution made by the Chinese
community, from its earliest presence in Australia
to the present day, to Australia's
development. For example, it would be timely for the production of a book that
records such a contribution and also details the achievements of Australians in
acknowledges the invaluable contribution that the scientific organisations have
made to the bilateral relationship. The benefits already gained from current
linkages demonstrate that it is in Australia's
long term interest to support the work of these organisations and develop
closer science and technology links with China.
Moreover, based on evidence to this inquiry, the time would also appear to be
right to undertake a concerted effort to augment the bilateral relationship.
considers that establishing at least one highly skilled science-literate
counsellor, based perhaps in Australia's
embassy in Beijing, should be a
priority. The 'Science Counsellor' position would be geared towards building
bilateral links between government organisations, and acting as a conduit for
research agencies wishing to establish or strengthen their presence in China.
The Science Counsellor would have extensive knowledge of the Australian
scientific context and be supported in his or her role by a science-literate
locally engaged staff member with a high degree of familiarity with the Chinese
scientific context. The science unit would be in a position to monitor and
report on significant developments in Chinese science, indicate where there is
potential for Australian involvement, and actively promote Australian
innovation and scientific achievement. It would encourage Chinese researchers
to view Australia
as a destination of choice for international scientific collaboration and
promote the trade-related aspects of innovation.
The committee recommends that the
Australian government consider the appointment of a dedicated Science
Counsellor based in China
to promote Australian science and technology.
considers that the ability of local governments to foster people-to-people
links, promote economic cooperation, and increase understanding and cultural
exchange should not be understated nor under valued. The work of local
governments, such as Wollongong City Council and Brisbane City Council, is
vital to strengthening the overall bilateral relationship between China
In 1966, the
committee made specific recommendations regarding the need for greater
intergovernmental cooperation and coordination. It believes that almost a
decade later, the situation still needs to be addressed. While ever there is a
lack of awareness and cooperation between all levels of government,
opportunities go begging. Australia
cannot fully extract the possible benefits arising from growing numbers of
links between Australia
unless it acts in a considered and coordinated manner. Given the current FTA
negotiations, it would seem timely to acquire a more complete picture of the
multiple levels of engagement and activity in China,
and work to develop and implement a coordinated strategy.
recommends that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade consult with
representatives from the states and cities involved in a sister city
relationship to develop strategies that will help them forge better trade ties
and social and cultural links with their respective sister relationships in China.
An annual gathering of interested parties, coordinated by DFAT, would provide
an ideal forum for all involved in sister city relations to develop effective
communication networks so they can benefit from each other's experience and
provide valuable advice for those considering entering a sister city
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