Australia today inked USD 8.8 billion worth deals with China, to enhance cooperation in the field of energy and resources and pave the way for massive Chinese investment in mines, railways and port facilities.

The agreements were signed between the two sides during a meeting between visiting Chinese Vice—President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Mr. Xi is the likely successor of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Mr. Rudd said the 10 deals, amounting to 10 billion Australian dollars, were focused on cooperation in resources and energy, AAP reported today.

“This demonstrates the dynamic relations between the two countries in this sector, and the strong complementarity of the two economies,” he said.

Among the deals is a pact that will allow Chinese companies to help fund a USD 8 billion coal mine and a railway and coal—loading terminal near Bowen in Queensland.

Mr. Rudd said that deal would yield four billion (Aus dollars) in exports each year for 25 years.

Another deal commits Chinese experts and engineers to work on the expansion of Fortescue’s iron ore projects in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which Mr. Rudd said will be worth five billion (Australian) dollars a year in exports.

Fortescue boss opposes new mining tax

Fortescue boss Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is a vocal opponent of the Government’s proposed new mining tax.

Australia’s proposed 40 per cent tax on mining profits has sparked concerns in China over the resultant high costs of resources.

In another agreement, China Development Bank will provide USD 1.2 billion for a joint venture to build a new port and rail facilities at Oakajee in Western Australia, and invest in Aquila’s coal and iron ore projects in the Pilbara.

A new quarantine arrangement will allow for Tasmanian apples to be exported to China, while other deals aim at cooperation in education and telecommunications.

Australian media has dubbed the visit by Mr. Xi part of a wider repair job for Australia—China ties after a series of tense months in the relationship.

Mr. Xi is the first high—level Chinese official to visit Australia since the controversy surrounding the jailing of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu in Shanghai in March.

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