by Steven Randall
China is Australia's largest trading partner, surpassing our traditional standing with Britain, the USA and Europe. In 2015 we exported over $110 Billion worth of products to the land of the Red Dragon,, and shipped back approximately $45 Billion worth of finished goods to satisfy our consumer and industrial needs.
Our largest single export is Iron Ore, and over 400 million tons of this material is shipped to many destinations in China, including the huge receiving terminal at the port of Dalian, pictured below. The very large ore carrier - or VLOC is unloading over 200,000 tons of ore to feed the Chinese steel industry.
Dalian is also one one the key centres for the import of grain into China, and Australian wheat plays a major part in feeding this country's growing population of over 1.3 billion.
We ship over 7 million tons of grain to China each year, and storage systems like the one above are part of the distribution network for this $6 billion dollar trade.
Shanghai is one of the largest ports in China, handling in excess of 500 million tons of cargo, including over 15 million containers a year....
Much of the consumer products we import into Australia, such as electronics, clothing, toys and plastics comes in containers from places like this complex at one of Shanghai's northern port terminals.
We also have a significant part to play in China's fuel program, and each year we ship just on 100 million tons of coal ( $9 billion worth) to power their industry and generation systems. Thermal coal to fuel massive electrical power generators, and Coking coal for the steel furnaces.
But over the past 10 -15 years, China has begun to move towards cleaner sources of power, and Australian LNG is now beginning to become very important to China's future power plans.
New Natural gas terminals for holding Liquified natural Gas (LNG) like the Shanghai LNG terminal at left...
.....and the new Zhuhai port terminal pictured to the right, ,in Guangdong, are signs of the new, cleaner push for power generation and transport fuel in the ever growing country.
As China continues to grow and expand, Australian products and services will become more and more important, and we should continue to build our relationship with this trading giant.