SYDNEY, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Victoria has become the first state in Australia to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China on the Belt and Road Initiative.
According to State Premier Daniel Andrews, the historic agreement means Victoria will be best placed in the country to capitalize on the trade and investment opportunities made possible by the global infrastructure project.
"This new Australian first agreement sums up everything we have achieved with China over the past four years -- it means more trade and more Victorian jobs and an even stronger relationship with China," Andrews said on Thursday after he and Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye finalized the terms.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, proposed in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
The singing of the MOU comes as a result of an ambitious strategy set out by the State government in 2016 to strengthen the economy by increasing trade, the education sector, as well as its businesses and cultural ties with its largest trading partner China.
With the relationship worth around 27 billion Australian (19.1 billion U.S.) dollars per year to the Victoria economy in merchandise trade alone, Andrews believes the agreement will now help cement Victoria as China's trade and investment gateway to Australia.
"We said we'd reboot our relationship with China and we're getting it done," he said.
"In four years we have more than tripled Victoria's share of Chinese investment in Australia and nearly doubled our exports to China."
Currently in the midst of building the state's largest ever pipeline of infrastructure developments which include Melbourne's Metro Tunnel, the West Gate Tunnel and the North-East Link road project, Andrews said, "The expertise Victoria has when it comes to the delivery of these massive projects means we have the design and engineering skills China is looking for, meaning more jobs and more trade and investment for Victorians."