Australian businessman calls for trust, respect, understanding in relations with China

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-26 16:30:45|Editor: huaxia

A young woman performs guitar near the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, May 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

"They (China) have raised legitimate issues with what they believe was the dumping of barley in China, as we have raised 10 times as many issues against China in the same process," said Mark Allison, an agricultural producer in Australia.

CANBERRA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Trust, respect and understanding are needed for Australia to nurture its relationship with China, an Australian businessman has said.

"What we need to do is to be very calm, be very respectful ... There are a lot to understand on both sides of the equation," Mark Allison, president of Agribusiness Australia, an agricultural producer and exporter, said in a telephone interview with Xinhua.

Allison is also the chief executive officer of Elders, a leading agriculture company in Australia which was started in 1839. Talking about the recent barley tariff friction with China, he noted that the issue should not be politicized.

"The barley issue has been going for 18 months and they (China) have raised legitimate issues with what they believe was the dumping of barley in China, as we have raised 10 times as many issues against China in the same process," he said.

According to him, about 65 percent of Australia's agricultural products are exported, with Asia being its key market.

Photo taken on Oct. 11, 2018 shows a Nova Vita vineyard in Lobethal, Australia. China is a vital market for Australia's wine industry. (Xinhua/Pan Xiangyue)

"Clearly the growth of China is significant for us," he said. "China is the No. 2 economy in the world, and a major trading partner, and we have closest proximity."

He said that Australia benefited from the trade of wool, nuts and fruits with China. "And China is a growing grain market for us," he added. "There is a big share of dairy products, and fish products, particularly crayfish, has been increasing."

Allison spoke highly of the strong economic ties between China and Australia.

"At the agricultural season in Australia, Elders has got very strong support from Chinese factories that were coming out of the COVID-19 shutdowns to ensure that we had products of the Australia farmers. It's very, very strong positive relationship," he said.

Victoria is Australia's first state to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, launched by China in 2013 to promote trade and economic cooperation among economies and further open up markets in a mutually beneficial manner.

Staff members of Meat and Livestock Australia show beef slices during the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

"As chairman of Agribusiness Australia, we issued a report last year on the implications to Australian agriculture of the Belt and Road Initiative," said Allison. "I see a lot of benefits for Australian agriculture."

Looking into the future, Allison said he was optimistic.

Noting that he feels deep passion for Australia's achievements, Allison expressed his respect for what China has achieved. "The achievements (of) lifting Chinese people out of poverty, the health improvement and education improvement are quite amazing for such an important country in the world."

"The long term view for China and Australia will be positive," the businessman said.