(File photo: VCG)
Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham has said he has confidence that the relationship between Australia and China will continue to prosper in 2019 in his Chinese New Year Message.
In a statement confirmed by the Australian embassy in China on Friday, Birmingham extended his "best wishes of health, happiness, success and prosperity to everyone who is celebrating the Lunar New Year".
"With over 1.2 million people of Chinese heritage living in Australia, it is a special time for many communities and families across our nation," he said.
"As the Australian Minister for Trade, I am very aware of the strong economic relationship between our two nations. China is Australia's largest trading partner and both our countries continue to reap the benefits of the landmark China-Australia Free Trade Agreement," he said.
Birmingham saw "this strong trade and investment relationship in action" when he visited Shanghai last November for the China International Import Expo.
He also noted that China and Australia see strong people-to-people connections through education and tourism.
"Currently there are around 185,000 Chinese students studying in Australia and we welcome over 1.4 million Chinese visitors to our shores every year," he said. "China is also an attractive destination for many Australians, with more than 400,000 visiting in the last year."
"I have every confidence that the relationship between Australia and China will continue to prosper in 2019 and well beyond," he said.