SHENZHEN, China, June 28, 2006 (AFP) – The prime ministers of Australia and China hailed the opening of a multi-billion-dollar gas project here Wednesday as a symbol of the future of fast-expanding trade ties between the two nations.
Australia’s John Howard and China’s Wen Jiabao oversaw the opening of a terminal in the southern province of Guangdong that will take deliveries of Australian liquefied natural gas for the next 25 years.
The contract, signed in 2002, involves an annual delivery of around 3.3 million tonnes of LNG and is worth 25 billion Australian dollars (18 billion US), making it Australia’s largest single export deal.
"In every sense this is a symbol of what can be achieved in the future," Howard said at the opening ceremony, as he praised China’s economic development and spoke of the opportunities that created for Australia.
"China’s economic growth has been impressive, breathtaking.
"We applaud China’s reaching out to the rest of the world and China’s involvement in an increasingly globalized world. The world has much to benefit from a fully and openly engaged China and we welcome them."
Wen said the opening of the terminal "symbolizes the beginning of a long-term, stable demand and supply relationship between the two countries in the LNG field.