Australia and China have agreed to create a new infrastructure to fast track investments between the two countries.
Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey and Trade Minister Andrew Robb announced the initiative on Tuesday after a meeting in Beijing with the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Xu Shao Shi.
“There is tremendous opportunity to deepen the relationship at a number of levels including in particular expanding services exports from Australia to China, and also improving investment opportunities,” Mr Hockey told reporters.
“As a result of that, we have agreed to create an investment cooperation framework at the suggestion of [Mr Xu].”
Mr Robb says the deal could potentially enable China or Australia to smooth the way for specific investments.
“It takes that expression of goodwill and trust, I think, to a further level where we start to identify individual projects or areas where we will give one another particular consideration,” he said.
A list of possible projects could be ready by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Australia in November.
The framework is separate to discussions with China on a free trade agreement, which the Australian Government hopes to secure by the end of the year.
“The investment cooperation framework goes beyond the free trade agreement,” Mr Hockey said.
“It is based out of the strategic economic dialogue which will be held each year.
“The focus is to deepen the everyday engagement between China and Australia with some identifiable projects, and this is much about investment in Australia as it is about Australia investing in China.”
Australia concluded historic free trade deals with Japan and South Korea during Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s official visit to the region in April.