Foreign Minister Bob Carr today began a 10-day visit to boost bilateral ties and economic links with China.
Senator Carr will have a series of high-level meetings in China, including in Hong Kong, Sichuan, Chongqing and Fujian.
In Hong Kong, he will meet Chief Executive C Y Leung, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam and Jasper Tsang, President of Legislative Council.
Senator Carr said he would address the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Asia Society.
"Australia has extensive interests in Hong Kong, built on strong links between our people and long-standing trade and investment ties," Senator Carr said.
"Hong Kong is our leading business base in East Asia with 90,000 Australians living there.
"Hong Kong was also our sixth largest source of total foreign investment in 2012 and an important export market for Australia."
In Chengdu, Senator Carr said he will open Australia's new Consulate-General – a key initiative in the Rudd Government's plan for Australia to seize opportunities opening up in China's fast-growing inland provinces.
"As the capital of Sichuan, Chengdu provides a direct link to a province which is home to over 80 million people," Senator Carr said.
"It is also a major gateway to the vibrant inland regions, which account for a growing share of China's trade, foreign investment and economic growth.
"Many Australian companies are already active in western China, along with firms from around the world.
"Cities like Chengdu and Chongqing will be central to the innovative, high-skill, high-tech, high-income growth which will drive the next stage of China's remarkable economic transformation."
Across the three provinces, Senator Carr will meet provincial and municipal leaders, and engage Australian business representatives.
In Fujian, Senator Carr will raise Australia's profile in this emerging coastal provincial market for Australian products and services.
Planned investments in infrastructure and city planning projects, aimed at strengthening cross-strait economic engagement, will provide new opportunities for Australian businesses across a range of sectors.
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