CANBERRA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Former Premier of the Australian State of Victoria John Brumby on Monday urged Australia to conduct right engagement with China, especially under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Responding to the just-concluded third China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, Brumby said in a statement that there's much at stake for the Australian economy and Australian business in the crucially important dialogue.
The dialogue and related meetings provided an important opportunity to set directions and nudge initiatives forward in Australia's biggest trade relationship, Brumby said, adding that they are the economic engine room that helps drive leadership in the relationship between the two countries.
Brumby, currently national president of the Australia China Business Council, said that the Belt and Road Initiative has huge interest because of the potential of Chinese investment to relate to large scale projects in Australia as well as the opportunities for participation by Australian business in projects in third countries.
"As with China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative, it's clear that Australia's participation is most welcome and, more importantly, that Australia would not want to rule itself out of at least a modest role in helping to shape the game."
Brumby said that the initiative obviously sits in the context of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) framework and its vision for the Australia-China relationship.
The investment chapter of ChAFTA is a declared priority for development and upgrading and the issues that have arisen around infrastructure investment are central to mobilizing Chinese capital for Australian development in sensible ways, he noted
Australia should also strongly welcome bilateral cooperation and commercial opportunities in third countries, especially those that also enhance development outcomes.
"Over the past year, the bilateral trade and investment relationship continued to grow very strongly, despite continuing weakness in the global economy and increased policy uncertainties surrounding developments in some major industrial countries," he said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.