Chinese Ambassador to Australia Zhang Junsai said here on Monday the potential cooperation between China and Australia's Northern Territory is great, particularly in the sectors of resources, tourism and agriculture.
While speaking at a conference hosted by the Australian China Business Council Northern Territory Branch in Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory, Zhang said the Northern Territory is Australia's gateway to Asia and well positioned to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with China.
China has steadfast economic development even in the period of financial crisis and has become the Northern Territory's second largest trading partner after Japan with more than one-third of its export going to China in 2008.
However, Zhang noted there is more potential to be tapped in future cooperation.
In resources sector, he said, only a few Chinese companies have invested here, so there is a necessity in upgrading cooperation by strengthening two-way investment and cooperation in upstream industries.
"For instance, Chinese companies may engage in exploration and development of manganese, uranium, gold and other minerals and establish joint ventures, by acquiring equity of local enterprises and mines in the Northern Territory," Zhang said.
In tourism, there is also a large room for improvement. Among 350,000 Chinese tourists to Australia in 2008, only 2 percent of them travelled to the Northern Territory. Therefore, the Northern Territory, with many natural wonders and aboriginal culture, could step up its promotion efforts in big cities in China and design new travel products to draw more Chinese tourists.
Zhang said the Northern Territory can also lead a way in agricultural cooperation with China, as China is expected to become Australia's largest export market for agricultural products. The Northern Territory has strength in cropping, stock growing and processing of aquatic fruits and vegetables, so it can further explore opportunities in the Chinese market by cooperating with Chinese companies.
The ambassador also mentioned future cooperation in education and desert control, etc between China and the Northern Territory.
About 80 local business leaders, government officials and mining sector managers attended the conference.