Government officials and industry leaders held heated debate on Australia’s future role as a resource provider for Asia and cooperation on resource sustainability between Asia and Australia here in Perth on Monday.
The conference themed “Resources, Environment, Development” hosted by Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Perth, which commenced on Monday morning, saw sustainability, the demand for resources and the role of technology the three main topics.
At the opening ceremony of BFA Energy, Resources & Sustainable Development Conference, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd talked about China’s new model for sustainable growth outlined in its 12th five year plan, dubbing it “China 2.0”.
Rudd also noted the shift in China’s economic focus from labor- intensive manufacturing sector to services industries boosting capital-intensive, high technologies and more sustainable growth.
“I’d say to Australian businesses it is very important for them to recognize the profound nature of that change,” Rudd said.
Rudd added that Australia and China share a bright prospective of cooperation in energy and resources sector, as the two economies are highly complementary.
BFA Chairman Yasuo Fukuda said currently, the world is at a critical moment in a post-crisis era. It is particularly important for stakeholders of the global economy to cooperate in resources, environment, economic growth sustainability to better manage the unbalanced world economy.
During the discussions on Asia’s demand for resources, Fortescue Metal Group CEO Andrew Forrest said that Australia’s supply of iron ore will overtake the demand, and will result in lower, but strong and stable prices, which he described as “win- win”.
Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), said that India’s increasingly industrialized economy will move from the services industry to a manufacturing economy.
Kumar added that India plans to invest 1 trillion U.S. dollars on infrastructure over the next five years, and will rely heavily on resources imported from Australia.
Zhang Guobao, the director of the Expertise Consultancy Team of China’s National Energy Commission said Australia is rich in uranium ore and China is making steady progress in developing nuclear energy. The two sides enjoy huge room for further cooperation.
He suggested that good opportunities have arisen for Chinese side as the uranium ore prices have lowered recently. Now is a good, if not the best chance for China and Australia to boost bilateral cooperation in nuclear energy development.
The session will continue through Tuesday. Delegates will discuss investment opportunities in Australia, technological innovation, the fluctuation of resource prices and the future of China-Australian cooperation, among others.
As a non-government, non-profit international organization, the BFA is one of the most prestigious and premier forums for leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share visions on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large. The Forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.