by Alan Thornhill
Despite differences over Tibet, Australia has made real progress towards selling more financial services in China.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is in BeijingÂ told reporters yesterday that the Chinese market, for such services, is “significant and growing.”
“One of the core propositions that I am putting to the Chinese Government for consideration is to expand a number of Australian funds managers who are able to operate here in the Chinese market,” Rudd said.
.”I spent yesterday at lunch with the Australian Ambassador and the representatives of Australiaâ€™s leading banks and financial institutions and their Chinese counterparts,” he added.
Chinese regulators and financiers met Rudd and senior Australian finance executives, at a lunch and forum in Beijing yesterday.
Richard Gilbert, of Australia’s Investment and Financial Services Association, who attended, said this had been a chance to display the strength, vision and growth potential of Australia’s financial services industry.
Mr Gilbert said the forum had also been an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a high level delegation his association will send to China later this year.
“The Beijing forum provided an ideal environment in which to discuss financial services opportunities,” Gilbert said.
Rudd saidÂ one of theÂ reasons he was in Beijing was to support the expansion of the Australian bilateral economic relationship in the area of the trade in services, in particular the area of the trade in financial services.
“This is a significant growing market in terms of the size and diversity of Chinaâ€™s pensions and superannuation industry, pensions and superannuation funds, ” Rudd said.
“What I have agreed with the Chinese today is that we will be establishing a ministerial services round table and its first priority will be the trade in financial services and that will get under way very soon.,” heÂ added.
“This is an important step forward for us, because we want to rapidly grow the services trade between our two countries, particularly in the area of financial services, particularly in what we have to offer in the funds management industry,” Rudd said.
He said, too, thatÂ progress hadÂ been made, in talks aimed at establishing a free trade agreement between Australia and China.
“…we have today agreed to unfreeze what has been the frozen bilateral negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and China,” Rudd said.
” And this is important for both of us.
“We are both committed to ensuring that this is a broadly based, comprehensive and substantive free trade agreement.”
Rudd said hisÂ Trade Minister Simon Crean will beÂ in Beijing ” within the month.”
“… and the object of that meeting will be to identify clearly with his Chinese counterparts, a list of remaining obstacles to be cleared in this bilateral free trade negotiation,” he said.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Monday May 20
The Dow Jones Index rose 121.18 points Friday,New York time) to 15,354.40
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has received a boost in the latest newspaper polls as she continues her push to get states and territories to sign up to the Federal Government’s education reforms. Fairfax’s latest Nielsen poll says support for Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister has increased four points to 46 per cent, leaving her level with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whose support dipped four points.
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