China is Western Australia’s largest merchandise export market. Western Australia exported A$81.4 billion of goods to China in 2018-19, with the top exports being iron ore, petroleum, gold, lithium and nickel ore. China is Western Australia’s largest export market for all of these commodities except for petroleum (ranked second). Western Australia is the largest source of iron ore for China.
China is Western Australia’s largest source of merchandise imports. Western Australia imported A$5.0 billion of goods from China in 2018-19, with the top imports being refined petroleum oil, furniture and railway vehicles.
China is Australia’s fifth largest source of foreign direct investment (A$40.1 billion in 2018), while China is the seventh largest destination for Australia’s direct investment abroad (A$13.5 billion in 2018).
In 1999, Australia became the first western country to be granted Approved Destination Status by the Chinese Government, permitting Chinese tourism in Australia. From China, Western Australia had 67,000 visitors in 2018-19 and 8,400 students in 2018. China is Western Australia’s 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.