China is Western Australia’s largest merchandise export market. Western Australia exported A$96.1 billion of goods to China in 2019, with the top exports being iron ore, petroleum and gold. China is Western Australia’s largest export market for iron ore, second largest export market for petroleum and third largest export market for gold. Western Australia is China’s largest source of iron ore.
China is Western Australia’s largest source of merchandise imports. Western Australia imported A$5.4 billion of goods from China in 2019, with the top imports being refined petroleum oil, furniture and industrial machinery and equipment.
China is Australia’s sixth largest source of foreign direct investment (A$46.0 billion in 2019) and is the sixth largest destination for Australia’s direct investment abroad (A$15.5 billion in 2019).
In 1999, Australia became the first western country to be granted Approved Destination Status by the Chinese Government, permitting Chinese tourism in Australia. In 2019, Western Australia had 72,900 visitors and 8,404 students from China. China is Western Australia’s second largest market for international students. For Western Australian tourists, China is the eleventh most popular overseas destination, with 28,000 Western Australians visiting China in 2018.
Western Australia has a growing Chinese community. In 2016, 104,000 Western Australian residents had Chinese ancestry and 27,000 were born in China.
Western Australia has had a Sister-State Agreement with Zhejiang Province since 1987, which supports regular science, technology, research and exchange programs, and provides for other trade, business and cultural interactions. Western Australia has also had a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s National Development and Reform Commission since 2011 to encourage investment and industry development in Western Australia and China, particularly in resources, energy and infrastructure.
The Western Australian Government is a co‑funder of the $25 million Australia‑China Natural Gas Technology Partnership Fund, with the Commonwealth Government and the North West Shelf Joint Venture.
The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation supports Western Australia’s investment and trade with China through its Shanghai Office, which was established in 1996.