Vice President of the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, Mr Lawrence Lu; Deputy Director of the China Textile Chamber of Commerce, Mr Lin; President of the China Wool Textile Association, President Huang; Trade and Investment Minister, the Hon Andrew Robb; AWI Group Manager - Corporate Affairs & International Market Access, Peta Slack-Smith; Deputy Secretary General of the China National Garment Association, Mr Xie.
The function was attended by an Australian Government delegation to China, including Minister Andrew Robb and Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson, and senior members of the Chinese textile industry including the new President of the China Wool Textile Association (CWTA) Madame Huang.
China is the major market for Australian wool, with more than 75 per cent of the Australian wool clip exported to China for processing. Traditionally, the vast majority of this wool was processed and re-exported. But today, with Chinese consumers and textile companies becoming increasingly aware of the fibre's natural inherent benefits, around a third of this wool stays within the Chinese market.
China presents the most dynamic opportunity for the Australian wool industry. Consumer research shows definite potential to increase wool consumption among more than 20 million consumers at the high end of the market in key cities, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embed demand for wool apparel in the rapidly emerging middle class in China.
Speaking at the function, Madame Huang said the CWTA is pleased with its long and successful relationship with The Woolmark Company and the Australian wool industry.
"The China Wool Textile Association has consistently worked with The Woolmark Company to support Chinese woollen textile companies. Together, these two companies have made significant contributions by assisting with product development, technology and product quality improvement," Madame Huang said.
"As we move forward together, we will provide ongoing technical and marketing support to many other Chinese companies that wish to increase the amount of wool in their collections. We can also provide support for companies wishing to develop woollen fabrics, woollen garments and woollen products into the international and Chinese market."
Many of the leading Chinese textile companies that are members of the CWTA use large quantities of Australian Merino wool in their production.
"We look forward to a close working relationship with The Woolmark Company so that together we can bring the benefits of Australian Merino wool to Chinese companies, to Chinese consumers and to global markets," Madame Huang added.
The function on Friday night was held as part of Australia Week in China which incorporates Australia's largest ever trade mission - more than 700 business people from a range of industries. AWI's involvement with the trade mission extends its marketing efforts into China and is part of an AWI strategy to create, enhance and protect the Australian wool industry's trade and market access opportunities.