Major joint study of Australia-China economic relationship

29 June 2015

The first major joint study of the economic relationship between Australia and China has been launched in Beijing.

The joint study will be led by Professor Peter Drysdale from ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and Mr Zhang Xiaoqiang, Executive Director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) and former Vice Minister of China's National Development Reform Commission.

The study will examine the medium to long-term prospects for the economic relationship and follows the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the changes in the strategic trade in resources between the two countries.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey welcomed the study's launch and said it signified the importance attached to the relationship in both countries.

"It will contribute significantly to understanding of the issues at stake for both countries," Mr Hockey said.

Zeng Peiyan, former Vice Premier of China and Chair of CCIEE said the study would set the path for the economic relationship over the next decade.

"The trade and investment potential of China's and Australia's strongly complementary economies is enormous," he said.

"The study will provide useful guidelines for the development of the economic relationship over the next 10 years and beyond."

Australian experts on the study team include former Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet Ian Watt, former ambassador to China Ross Garnaut, and former Productivity Commission chair Gary Banks.

Chinese experts are expected to include Professor Yiping Huang of the National Development Studies Centre at Peking University, who is an expert adviser to China's Monetary Policy Committee, and Dr Zhang Yunling of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Drysdale, from the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, said the joint study was the first of its kind between Australia and China.

"An important objective is to forge common understanding of the dynamics of change in the relationship. This is a critical moment in a once-in-a-century economic transition," he said.

"It is a vital opportunity for both countries to think about how to shape the future course of our relationship, establishing some common reference points in its management.

"The study will look at opportunities for cooperation between Australia and China bilaterally, but also in the region, for example through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative, and globally in the G20."

The independent academic study will be partly funded by business and has support from the Australian and Chinese governments.