On February 21 2017, the 1st Conference of China-Australia FTA Joint Committee was held in Beijing. The meeting was jointly presided over by the Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen and the Deputy Secretary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Justin Brown. Both sides fully exchanged views on the implementation situation of China-Australia FTA and defined the next working arrangement.
Both sides reiterated that they would continue to support economic globalization and trade liberalization according to the President Xi Jinping's statement at the World Economic Forum on unswervingly developing an open world economy, and spoke highly of the remarkable achievements made by the China-Australia FTA since it took effect on December 20 2015, and fully affirmed the positive role of the agreement on strengthening the trade and economic relationship between the two countries.
Wang emphasized that the China-Australia FTA provides new mechanism and platform for the bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The trade and economic relationship between the two countries has been further strengthened since the agreement's implementation, and the bilateral people-to-people exchanges and cultural communication were greatly promoted with positive effects. With regard to trade in goods, both sides have implemented tax reduction form three times and the effects have appeared. The trade structure of the two countries has been constantly optimized. China exports commodities such as mechanical and electrical products and toys which are at low prices but with good quality to Australia and obtains rapid development. Among these, the export of crane increased 123%, that of electric fork-lift truck 71.5%, machinery parts of mining 58.1% year on year and toys 35.7%. These bring great benefits for the Australian enterprises and people.
In terms of service trade, the agreement further promotes the growth of service trade such as bilateral aviation, tourism, education and finance. Many Chinese airline companies open or increase the direct flights between China and Australia successively. Australia has become the second long-distance international aviation transportation market of China after the United States. The inbound tourists from China to Australia increased greatly. In 2016, the number reached 1.3 million, up 17.9% compared with that of 2015. The financial cooperation between China and Australia was more abundant. Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China opened new branches in Australia, enabling the overseas financing of Chinese enterprises to be more convenient. The holiday work visa under the China-Australia FTA is warmly welcomed by young Chinese people. 5,000 annual quota has been filled in first year's implementation.
With regard to investment, Chinese enterprises have high enthusiasm for the investment in Australia. According to the preliminary statistics, in 2016, China's direct investment in Australia reached US$3.68 billion, up 56.1% year on year. The non-financial outward investment from China to Australia increased greatly and the growth exceeded that of the whole China, covering many fields such as real estate, leasing and business service industry, transportation and warehousing industry and manufacturing industry.
China-Australia FTA was signed in 2015 and officially implemented on December 20 2015. According to the arrangement of the agreement, both sides hold joint committee conference annually, summarize the implementation situation of the agreement, solve common concerns, promote the implementation of the agreement, define the next working plan and guide the future work.