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On a visit to China, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that ecommerce and the service industries would rekindle trade and investment between the two countries.

At a lunch for Chinese and Australian business executives, Turnbull said “Chinese companies, including Alibaba and JD.com, are world leading e-commerce platforms, which provide access to this market for small and medium-sized Australian exporters. Already it’s estimated the Chinese e-commerce market is larger than that of the United States.”

“There will be even bigger gains in services. Lawyers, educators, financial service providers, engineers, designers, planners, architects, all will find it now much easier to do business in China. The potential is enormous, and that’s why for example 134 representatives of our aged-care and health sectors are with us here today”, he added.

Turnbull and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo lead a delegation of over 1000 representatives of the Australian business community, who have just completed a tour of ten Chinese cities over five days. The trip is expected to generate AUD$1 billion in exports and AUD$3 billion in investments to help boost the Australian economy.

As China attempts to move towards a consumer-driven economy, ecommerce has boosted exports of Australian beef, dairy products, fruit and seafood, making China Australia’s largest trading partner. Meanwhile, Australia is China’s second-biggest destination for overseas investment, after the USA.

Mr Turnbull’s visit to China is seen as an expression of his desire to place technological innovation at the heart of Australian trade policy. The Chinese government is investing heavily in a new AUD$100 million science precinct to be built at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. They are also building a “landing pad” in Beijing to provide space for Australian entrepreneurs, including ecommerce innovators, as part of their Torch program for start-ups.

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