Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said the choice of Sydney as host location for the Congress was a show of confidence in the ties between New South Wales and China.
“This is the first time this Congress has been held outside Asia, and the choice of Sydney as host city is a significant opportunity for Australian and Chinese businesses to build valuable connections, closer ties and greater mutual understanding,” Mr Stoner said.
“The Congress also represents an outstanding outcome for the efforts of Sydney’s convention bureau, Business Events Sydney, which pursued this strategic opportunity since 2005 and was instrumental in securing the event.
“NSW is the undisputed home of Australia’s finance and insurance business, and a major regional player in Asia. Finance and insurance is the biggest business sector in NSW, generating $60 billion for the State’s economy each year and providing jobs for 170,000 people.
“The emergence of Sydney as a leading Asia Pacific hub for the finance sector and the strong ties enjoyed between China and NSW make our State an increasingly attractive destination for China’s financial and business sector.
“Earlier this year, I was particularly pleased to be part of the first ever Sydney-Shanghai Finance Symposium held in Sydney, an outcome of efforts by the NSW Government and Shanghai Municipal Government towards a closer financial services partnership.”
Mr Stoner said the NSW Government was actively building trade and investment relationships with China, pointing to his recent trip to Shenzen and Shanghai in June and to the Premier Barry O’Farrell’s recent week-long trade mission to China.
“China is our State’s largest trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade valued at $24.4 billion in 2010-11 which represents an increase of 80 per cent from five years earlier,” Mr Stoner said.
“The Premier recently returned from a very successful high level trade and investment mission to Beijing, Chengdu, Jinan and Guangzhou, his second official visit to China as Premier.
“My visit to Shenzen and Shanghai in June this year saw a number of strong outcomes including an agreement between the Commonwealth Bank and China UnionPay to enable 3.1 billion UnionPay cards to be accepted at 170,000 terminals across Australia,” Mr Stoner said.
CEO of Business Events Sydney Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “BESydney saw value in the opportunities for our local industry and WWCLIC delegates to share knowledge, deepen understanding and build mutually beneficial relationships.
“Some of Australia’s largest trading partners are Asian countries, with NSW attracting US$10.8 billion of Chinese investment over the past six years.
“Recognising the importance of the event, we energetically pursued the opportunity to host it here in Sydney,” Ms Lewis-Smith said.
The 2012 Worldwide Chinese Life Insurance Congress will be held from 9–12 August at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.