Sydney delegation in Guangzhou celebrates and strengthens ties with China

Lord Mayor Clover Moore last night launched a four-day program of events that will mark the 30th anniversary of Sydney’s sister-city relationship with Guangzhou, China.

The City of Sydney has taken a 100-person delegation to Guangzhou, including Sydney businesses travelling with the Australia China Business Council and representatives from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney and the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Events through the four days include a business summit, sustainability forum, alumni reunion, Sydney Symphony concert and art exhibition.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the events will open up new trade and partnership opportunities in southern China for Sydney businesses, universities and cultural organisations.

“This is the first time the City of Sydney has led an overseas delegation of this size and scope,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This is a significant visit because we value the historic and economic links we share with Guangzhou, and we are committed to deepening these links.

“The events in Guangzhou this week will produce wide-ranging idea exchanges that will change the landscape and profiles of our two global cities for years to come.

“This 30-year milestone is evidence of the strength and maturity of our relationship, and we’re using that milestone as an opportunity to promote Sydney’s global economy and world-class cultural institutions in southern China.”

Guangzhou Mayor Wen Guohui said he was looking forward to a productive gathering of representatives from both cities to celebrate 30 years of friendship and herald a new chapter of continued cooperation.

“The close and intimate economic and cultural cooperation between our two peoples has become a fountainhead of continuing partnership between the two cities,” the Mayor of Guangzhou said.

“We are excited to put into action the new opportunities that will be forged from this celebratory delegation and look ahead to strengthening our relationship.”

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra last night kicked off the schedule of events with a concert for participating delegates and local dignitaries.

“The Sydney-Guangzhou sister-city relationship is vitally important in fostering the diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between our cities,” Sydney Symphony Orchestra managing director, Rory Jeffes, said.

The following program events are scheduled to take place this week:

  • The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will conduct a musical workshop with students from the Xinghai Conservatory of Music;
  • The University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney will deliver a one-day symposium on best practices for sustainability;
  • Sydney’s six leading universities will combine to host a special alumni reception for building connections with colleagues and staff – the first Australian alumni event ever to take place in Guangzhou;
  • The Australia China Business Council will present a full-day business conference, hosting around 100 attendees from both cities, to facilitate meaningful trade and investment partnerships between Sydney and Guangzhou businesses; and
  • Sydney’s 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Guangzhou’s Observation Society will present an art exhibition exploring trade and migration between the two cities, featuring Australian artist Lucas Ihlein and Chinese artist Trevor Yeung.

The partnership between Sydney and Guangzhou has benefited from a complementary relationship at the state level, as New South Wales has an active sister-state relationship with the wider Guangdong Province.

New figures from the NSW Government show China remains Australia’s largest market for service exports, including the financial, ICT, travel and education sectors. These exports grew 20 per cent in 2015 to $9.8 billion.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said he was proud of the leading role Sydney plays in deepening the country’s, state’s and city’s economic engagement with China.

“China is NSW’s longest trading partner and new opportunities to grow our trade and investment relationships will flow further from this year’s Guangzhou anniversary celebration trip and the China Australia Free Trade Agreement,” the Premier said.

“I congratulate the City of Sydney and the Guangzhou City Government on the 30th anniversary of its sister-city relationship and look forward to the friendship deepening even further over the next 30 years.”

The Consul-General of Australia in Guangzhou, Dominic Trindade, said ties between Sydney and Guangzhou have left an indelible mark on Sydney’s unique social and cultural fabric and will continue to greatly influence the development of Australian society following this delegation.

“The 30th anniversary of sister-city relations is a celebration of Sydney and Guangzhou’s common history and a statement of ongoing commitment and friendship,” the Consul-General said.

“I am grateful for the hard work of those who have helped make these celebrations possible and wish the event every success.”

City of Sydney Councillor Robert Kok was part of the Lord Mayor’s delegation to southern China. He said Sydney and Guangzhou shared a very special relationship.

“Our city’s Chinese community is a vital contributor to Sydney’s social, cultural and economic life, and I am devoted to strengthening the Sydney-China relationship,” Mr Kok said.

“I believe this 30th anniversary will accelerate cooperation in business and trading opportunities for both cities.”