ChAFTA and beyond: Keynote address by Special Envoy for Trade Andrew Robb


The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force on December 20 2015. Tariffs have already been reduced and the opportunities for Australia in China are expanding. 

How will the FTA continue to play out in practice? What are the next steps? How does the does the former Minister and architect of the FTA see Australia-China economic relations developing?

Australian Special Envoy for Trade the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP explored these questions in a timely and fascinating keynote address to the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI).

Event Information
8:36 PM

The problem of misreading the signs on China's economy


By James Laurenceson

Note: This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review, January 23 2016. 

Since the Shanghai sharemarket burst last June, there's been a striking divergence in positions taken on the direction of China's economy. In the first few weeks of 2016 this divergence has only grown.

China's 6.9 on target


1. 6.9 percent growth meant China’s economy added 50 percent more purchasing power in 2015 than it did in 2010, when it was growing at 10.6 percent. That’s more RMB to be spent on Australian beef, dairy, etc.

2. Consumption accounted for 66.4 percent of China’s GDP growth in 2015. This was up 15 percentage points from 2014.

3. Retails sales grew at 10.7 percent in 2015. Independent data sources confirm robust household consumption. Westpac’s China Consumer Sentiment Index is higher now than it was a year ago.

China’s 6.9% GDP growth rate is not the hard landing feared - and Australia can benefit


By James Laurenceson

Note: This article originally appeared in The Conversation, January 19 2016.


After a rocky few weeks for Australian financial markets, China’s latest economic data release comes as a relief.

Why China fears are overblown


By James Laurenceson

Note: This article originally appeared in the Business Spectator, January 15 2016.

The capacity of Australia’s financial markets to see ghosts lurking in China’s economy has reached new heights.

China’s shoppers will shrug off market shudders


by James Laurenceson

Note: This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review


China's stock markets have greeted 2016 with a bang. Or a pop might be a better description.

On Monday the China CSI 300 index plunged seven percent by 1.34pm, triggering an automatic close to the day's trading, almost 90 minutes earlier than scheduled.

China: an economy that’s still on track


China stock market opened 2016 with a seven percent collapse. But the story of the real economy hasn’t changed.

1. On the demand side of China’s economy, fixed asset investment continues to slow but consumption remains robust. 

- Retail sales grew at 10.6 percent (year-to-date) in November. [1]

- On-line sales grew 34.5 percent (ytd) in November. [2]

The Australian public’s preferences over foreign investment in agriculture


This Australia-China Relations Institute research in collaboration with academics in the University of Technology Sydney Business School estimates a model of how the Australian public’s preferences over foreign investment in agriculture are determined. The results show that the attributes of foreign investment of greatest concern to the public are not the same as those used by the foreign investment approvals regime to flag proposals for scrutiny.

The China factor in Australian and global equity markets


1. At the end of 2014 China’s holdings of equity securities abroad stood at $US161.3 billion.[1] This was up from zero in 2004 but compares with $US6.7 trillion for the US.[2]

2. China’s holdings of equity securities abroad are equal to 1.6 percent of its GDP.[3] This compares with 38.6 percent for the US. 

China and Australia’s agricultural sector


1. Australia’s agricultural exports to China reached $8.5 billion in 2014-15.[1] This compared with:

- $5.1 billion to the US

- $3.9 billion to Japan

- $3.3 billion to Indonesia

2. A Chinese government-owned company wanting to invest in Australia’s agricultural sector must obtain Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval, irrespective of the value of the proposed purchase.[2]