The Australia-China Business Council (ACBC) has entered a landmark cooperation agreement with six major stakeholder groups from Western Australia’s northwest, aimed at extending the strategic relationship between China and the region.

At a ceremony ahead of its annual Chinese New Year Dinner in Perth last week, the ACBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pilbara Parties comprising Pilbara Development Commission, Regional Development Australia Pilbara, the Karratha District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Town of Port Hedland and the Pilbara Regional Council.

ACBC WA Branch president Adam Handley said the organization and the Pilbara Parties had a common objective to both recognize the importance of relationship-building between the Pilbara and China and to leverage that relationship commercially in order to further social and economic development and investment in the Pilbara.

“The ties between China and the Pilbara are strong already. This agreement, however, will ensure that the cooperation and collaboration required for both sides to see maximum benefit from the relationship takes place,” he said.

Under the MoU, the ACBC and the Pilbara Parties have agreed to pursue a range of initiatives, including:

  • Promoting cooperation and exchange of expertise in areas of mutual interest, especially those relevant to social and economic development;
  • Promoting investment opportunities to potential investors in China and the Pilbara;
  • Promoting exchange of views in the formulation and application of relevant policies;
  • Facilitating interaction between government officials, industry and academia of China and Western Australia;
  • Sharing thought leadership; and
  • Providing opportunities for the Pilbara Parties to participate in and sponsor high-level trade and investment forums between China and Australia.

In order to meet the outlined objectives, ACBC WA will establish a Pilbara Regional Committee that will:

  • Identify and respond to joint opportunities and projects in areas of mutual importance such as agriculture, renewable energy, water management, food security, logistics, growth and development of regional cities and opportunities for economic diversification;
  • Facilitate interaction between project proponents in China and Western Australia to enable a consistent approach to joint opportunities;
  • Develop a framework to facilitate a joint approach on the consideration and progression of proposals submitted by proponents that involve both parties;
  • Establish and participate in a steering committee to consider project proposals submitted by project proponents and opportunities involving both parties as they arise;
  • Encourage and support increased interaction between both parties to encourage and promote a ‘one-stop shop’ approach for opportunities involving both parties.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by WA Member for Pilbara and former Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls.

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