Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard may seek a deal enabling direct conversion of Australian dollars into Chinese currency when she visits China this week, The Australian newspaper reported yesterday.
Gillard will attend the Boao Forum, which runs from April 6 to April 8, and visit cities including Shanghai and Beijing, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. Darrin Barnett, a spokesman for the prime minister, confirmed Gillard would attend the forum, declining to comment on the currency conversion deal or full itinerary.
China remained Australia's top trading partner in January, even as transactions slid to A$9.9 billion (HK$80 billion), the lowest since September, according to figures from the government's statistics bureau.
Australia's business sector has been seeking a deal for some time and a pact would help reduce costs, said Arthur Sinodinos, shadow parliamentary secretary to the leader of the opposition, according to the website of the ABC, the Australian public broadcaster.
The Australian dollar, known as the Aussie, has surged as demand for the nation's resources from China and India sets off a record mining boom.
Internationalisation of the yuan, China's currency, is in the interests of Australian businesses and the nation's economy, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in July.