Western Australia Welcomes Premier Li Qiang

  • Chinese Premier Li Qiang leads high-level delegation to Western Australia
  • China-Western Australia trade relationship worth more than $162 billion
  • Direct flights, energy transition key focuses of the visit

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook has welcomed the Premier of the People's Republic of China, Li Qiang, to Perth as part of his high-level delegation to Australia.

Premier Cook and Premier Li held a one-on-one meeting, with securing new direct flights between China and Western Australia an important focus.

Last month, the Cook Government announced it had secured an ongoing direct flight to the city of Guangzhou - the first permanent direct flight route from WA to China since the pandemic.

It builds on the success of a highly successful seasonal Perth-Shanghai direct flight, operated by China Eastern Airlines, which ran for four weeks through Chinese New Year this year.

Premier Cook also raised opportunities for increased trade as part of the energy transition, and the importance of re-establishing the lobster trade.

As part of the visit, Premier Cook accompanied Premier Li on his visit to Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia's lithium hydroxide facility in Kwinana.

Between 2020-21 and 2022-23, the value of WA's lithium concentrate exports to China grew from $471 million to $19.8billion, an incredible 42-fold increase in export value for this critical battery mineral in just two years.

Premier Li also attended a business roundtable and community reception.

China is WA's largest trading partner, with $162.9billion of goods traded in 2023 - accounting for 58 per cent of the State's goods exports. WA accounted for 75 per cent of Australia's goods exports to China in 2023.

In recent months, the Cook Government has opened a new trade office in Hangzhou - the State's second trade office in China.

Around 117,000 Western Australians are of Chinese ancestry, with Mandarin the second-most spoken language at home in WA, after English.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"I want to thank Premier Li for visiting our State, to see firsthand the importance of our trading relationship.

"Our State's trade with China underpins hundreds of thousands of local jobs and helps to power the WA economy.

"We've put direct flights front-and-centre of our plan to boost economic ties with China, because we know that more direct flights means more tourists, more trade opportunities, and more local jobs.

"As the world transitions to a clean energy future, we're also embracing new opportunities partner with China on job-creating projects like the Tianqi Lithium facility in my home electorate.

"My Government will continue to drive new trade opportunities right across the State, because we'll always do what's right for WA."

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