Mark McGowan’s China trade mission: WA Premier calls for National Cabinet to be held in Beijing
Premier Mark McGowan has called for National Cabinet to be held in China in an unprecedented pitch to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese aimed at rebuilding relations between the two nations.
The bold proposal to host all State and Territory leaders came on the second day of the Premier’s five-day trade mission in Beijing.
Mr Albanese has already said he’s “open to” visiting the Asian giant after speculation he had been invited to China in September.
“The Prime Minister, hopefully will come to China sometime in the next six months or so, and meet with President Xi Jinping,” Mr McGowan said. “One of the things he could do is, invite all the Premiers and Chief Ministers to come with him.”
In Perth this month, Mr Albanese praised delegations led by Mr McGowan, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to China.
Mr McGowan said State and Territory leaders would be a good addition to a PM-led trip for their strength in “economic connection”.
Mr McGowan said a combined trip would give Premiers an opportunity to “fan out” to other Chinese provinces and cities for “relevant meetings and agreements”.
“It would be a strong demonstration that the relationship is back to a harmonious and productive one,” he said.
He said State-level visits had a stronger focus on investment and working with individual partners, particularly around “mining exports” and “attracting international students and tourists”.
“I think (they) would help smooth the pathway to removing any trade barriers and sanctions on Australian products,” he said.
The pitch comes after Mr McGowan told a key Beijing business conference on Tuesday that he would be using his visit to advocate for the removal of trade tariffs, which Beijing imposed on a range of commodities including wine, barley, and lobsters.
In his speech to the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce event in front of 120 business high-flyers, he described the WA-China relationship as “incredibly strong” and spruiked the importance of the Asian giant for local exporters.
“The new government’s got a far more balanced and sensible approach. Obviously, I want to help with that in any way I can,” the Premier said.
“I just think would be a good idea that we all went together.
“It would help enhance our opportunities to sell new products to China, attract tourists and students, and just ensure that there is a more harmonious relationship in the region.”