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Sino - Australia Relations
China and Australia established diplomatic relations on December 21, 1972. Thanks to the joint efforts by of the two governments and peoples, our bilateral relations have since made smooth progress on the whole. Exchanges and cooperation have increased in various fields, last year, President Jiang Zeming and Prime Minister John Howard met in November during the APEC meeting in Manila. Premier Zhu Rongji and Prime Minister John Howard exchanged letters and telephone calls on a number of regional issues such as the Asian financial crisis, the situation in Indonesia etc. Foreign Ministers of the two countries also established very good working relations too by holding meetings and exchanging views from time to time on such multilateral occasions as ARF and APEC. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australia DFAT conducted the 12th political consultations, the second bilateral human rights dialogue and the tenth regional security consultations. Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian paid a successful visit to Australia in February 1998, the first of its kind ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, which marks a complete normalization of the relations between the two militaries.

A smooth and all-round development of the Sino-Australian relations was achieved again in the first quarter of 1999. The 13th political consultations between the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australian DFAT were conducted in March, and two countries exchanged letters to implement Chinese Government's agreement to designate Australia as an approved destination for Chinese tourists on 22 April. Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister of Justice and Customs visited China in April. The mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between the two legislative bodies were further enhanced as a result of the successful visit to China in April by the Australia/China Parliamentary Friendship Group.

As our two economies are highly complementary to each other, China and Australia have benefited greatly from their ever expanding economic and trade relations. Despite the negative impact of the Asian financial crisis, bilateral trade has maintained a good momentum of growth. According to the statistics released by the Chinese Customs, the two-way trade in 1998 reached US$5.03 billion with China's exports to Australia totaling US$2.34. China's major items of exports to Australia include clothing, textile product, mechanical and electronic appliances and light industrial products while China's major imports from Australia include iron ore, wool, grain, cotton, wheat and sugar. China is the biggest buyer of Australian wool.

Mutual investment has also increased substantially. Up to 1998, Chinese government has approved a total of 3468 investment projects from Australia with contract value totaling US$5.21 billion and actual input by the Australian side reaching US$1.54 billion. Australia is the biggest overseas investment destination of China. The total investment from China has reached US$1 billion with 155 projects in Australia.

Friendly cooperation and exchanges at provincial (state) level have also been flourishing. In 1998, almost all the Premiers and Chief Ministers visited China. Up till now, there are 32 provinces (states) and cities on either side which have established sister relationship.
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