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New frontier in Australia's education exports to China::

The opening of a Monash University and Southeast University Joint Graduate School and Joint Research Institute in Suzhou China this week is a further sign that education is one of Australia's great strengths.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb will travel to China this week to participate in the opening of the Suzhou institute.

"This is a very significant moment as Monash University is the first Australian university to be granted a licence to operate a graduate school in China," he said. "This is a testament to the strong and growing links between our two countries underpinned by education."

China is Australia's largest source of international student enrolments, contributing around A$4 billion annually to the Australian economy. Our ties are based on 40 years of education exchanges and play a vital role in deepening the connections between the two countries.

"Education is one of Australia's key strengths and it offers enormous opportunity at so many levels from trade and investment through to the building of people-to-people linkages. Australia is extremely well placed to help meet growing demand in Asia for quality education," Mr Robb said.

In Suzhou, Mr Robb will also visit the Chinese facilities of Michell Wool – one of Australia's largest wool exporters, while in Shanghai, he will discuss ways to strengthen the Australia-Shanghai trade and investment relationship.

Mr Robb will meet senior executives from major companies and participate in an agri-business investment forum with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.

He will also meet members of the Australian business community in Shanghai to talk about the potential and future direction of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China.

The Australia-China economic and trade relationship continues to expand. China is now Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services (valued at A$125.1 billion in 2012), our largest export destination (A$78.7 billion in 2012), and our largest source of imports (A$46.3 billion in 2012).

Mr Robb will also make a brief visit to Hong Kong, where he will meet investors and Australia-linked business leaders. Hong Kong is Australia's sixth-largest source of foreign investment and an important export market.

Mr Robb plans to return to China in the very near future following this visit when formal talks regarding a Free Trade Agreement would be the focus.

Media enquiries

Trade and Investment Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

22 October 2013