Treasurer Joe Hockey has introduced legislation that will enable Australia's membership of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which he says will open up opportunities for the export of financial services to China.
The Treasurer joined Minister for Trade Andrew Robb in hosting the second annual Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue with Chinese chairman Xu Shaoshi yesterday.
Australia signed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank articles of agreement in June 2015 – the same month China and Australia signed a free trade agreement.
"From our discussions today, we will have an opportunity to build on this momentum and advance our mutual economic interests," Mr Hockey said.
"A more open capital account will also provide opportunities for Australia to extend our exports of financial services to China," he said.
"The financial services sector represents around 10 per cent of the Australian economy, greater than the mining industry and is Australia's largest industrial segment. Australia has particular expertise in funds management, insurance and pension services.
"Through our work on the Investment Cooperation Framework, we are able to share information and identify impediments and barriers to cross border investment, including in areas such as financial services," said the Treasurer.
Addressing parliament as he tabled the Asian Infrastructure Bank legislation yesterday, Mr Hockey said the Australia-China bilateral relationship is worth more than $150 billion in two-way trade.
"We agreed to pursue avenues for further two-way investment to diversify our trade relationship and create opportunities in the services sector," he said.
Australia is set to host an Australia Week Roundtable in Beijing that the Treasurer said is expected to attract 700 Australian businesses and connect them with key Chinese stakeholders in the first half of 2016.