Australia-China Economic Relationship Roundtable at PKU-ASC


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On the 17 November 2015 the Australian Studies Centre hosted a successful roundtable discussion at Peking University. The purpose of the roundtable was to make clear the advantages and challenges of Australia and China’s economic relationship in light of the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), endorsed by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and President Xi Jinping in November 2014. The event attracted over 40 attendees, including academics from leading Australian and Chinese universities, experts from the Australian Embassy in Beijing, numerous research students and scholars, and industry experts. The discussion took place over two sessions, each concluding with questions from the audience and lively discussion from panelists.

Associate Professor Tao Kong from the Institute of Social Science Survey, Peking University began the discussion by outlining Chinese patent trends, and the significance of these trends to facilitating and protecting innovation, particularly regarding invention copyright in China, and how this is important for China’s transition from a labour-intense manufacturing economy to a new major driver for economic growth. Lachlan Crews, Counsellor (Economic) at the Australian Embassy gave a summary of ChAFTA and future bilateral economic policy reforms. And Professor Ding Dou of Peking University described Australia’s changing industrial structure and emphasised the importance to Australia of bringing investment from China, especially in agricultural infrastructure.

In the second session, Paul Hubbard, a visiting scholar at the National School of Development, Peking University discussed the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, its potential goals and future role in infrastructure investment in Northern Australia. The roundtable presentations concluded with Assistant Professor Hu Dan from the Beijing Foreign Studies University Australian Studies Centre. She outlined her experience in existing organisations such as the China Australia Millennial Project which facilitate dialogue between Chinese and Australian students on topics such as those covered by ChAFTA.