Dan Andrews breaks ranks with the federal government over China again


Dan Andrews breaks ranks with the Federal Government over China AGAIN months after Scott Morrison tore up his deal with Beijing’s ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure plan

  • Victorian premier Dan Andrews sent huge team to a major trade show in China
  • Move comes after federal government cancelled state’s ‘Belt and Road’ deal 
  • Sent 100 companies to exhibit at China International Import Expo


Dan Andrews has paid for dozens of Victorian companies to attend a major trade show in China that the federal government boycotted.

The Victorian premier broke ranks with Scott Morrison’s policy towards Beijing for a second time after signing up to Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure plan

Foreign Minster Marise Payne cancelled that deal earlier this year under new veto powers, saying it wasn’t in Australia’s national interest to sign a $1.5 trillion contract with China.

The federal government also has no presence at the China International Import Expo, which opened on Friday, as it encourages Australian businesses to find new markets.

However, the Victorian Government covered the costs of dozens of companies to exhibit at the trade show, going against federal wishes. 

‘Our presence at the Expo is helping connect Victorian businesses to key markets to secure new contracts and grow jobs,’ a Victorian Government spokesman said. 

Dan Andrews has sent a huge team to a major trade show in China after signing up to Beijing’s international ‘belt and road’ infrastructure plan

Earlier this year the Morrison government cancelled Victoria's deal with China, saying it wasn't in Australia's national interest to sign away a $1.5trillion contract to the Pacific rivals

Earlier this year the Morrison government cancelled Victoria’s deal with China, saying it wasn’t in Australia’s national interest to sign away a $1.5trillion contract to the Pacific rivals

The Victorian Government has its own stall, which is branded with its official logos, as part of a major trade push into China.

Mr Andrews also commissioned a building in Shanghai called Vic House, which opened a few weeks ago, to facilitate closer trade ties.

Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan said in a briefing with China-focused businesses that the federal government wanted a ‘whole of nation’ approach to dealings with the country.

‘Team Australia – Australian government (and) Australian business working together – has never ever been more important,’ he told the companies. 

There are 100 Australian companies hosting exhibits at the China International Import Expo, down from 180 in 2020, according to The Australian. 

The Morrison Government is encouraging businesses to diversify away from China that have been worth $20 billion to the political rivals in the past.

Mr Tehan told a Taiwan-focused businesses a day before the Import Expo that companies needed to move into markets that were not dependent on China. 

‘We welcome businesses considering alternative markets and a diversified consumer base to protect themselves against shifting demand over a protracted period,’ he said.

There are 100 Australian companies hosting exhibits at the China International Import Expo, down from 180 in 2020

There are 100 Australian companies hosting exhibits at the China International Import Expo, down from 180 in 2020

Morrison government scrapped Victoria's 'Belt and Road' deal with Chinese government in April saying it wasn't in Australia's best interests

Morrison government scrapped Victoria’s ‘Belt and Road’ deal with Chinese government in April saying it wasn’t in Australia’s best interests

In April Ms Payne cancelled Victoria’s Belt and Road deal with China, also canning a scientific cooperation agreement between Victoria and Syria, and an educational agreement with Iran.  

‘I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations,’ she said.

Victoria signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese regional infrastructure initiative in 2018 and then signed a ‘framework agreement’ with Beijing in 2019. 

Areas of cooperation included increasing participation of Chinese companies in Victoria’s infrastructure program and promoting cooperation of Victorian businesses in China.

It also allowed Victoria’s engineering and design firms to bid for contracts for Belt and Road Initiative projects around the world.

Mr Andrews in December said cancelling the agreement would be a mistake, and would risk already-strained economic ties with China.

He said the deal promised to bring jobs and investment to Victoria and argued it should be a priority amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne (pictured) announced the cancelation on Wednesday night

Foreign Minister Marise Payne (pictured) announced the cancelation on Wednesday night 



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