Western Australia's Chinese Sister-State - Zhejiang Province - (Pron: Jer Chung) will open a trade promotion office in Perth.
The Minister Assisting the Premier on Employment, Trade and Investment, Gordon Hill, said the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government had confirmed the decision just weeks after the WA Government decided to establish its own trade representation in China.
"In the five years since we signed the original Sister-State agreement, our trade links with Zhejiang have grown and diversified, but only with permanent representation are we likely to witness really significant gains," Mr Hill said.
Zhejiang, on China's south-east coast, has a population of 43 million and is one of WA's major customers for iron ore, wool and leather.
Mr Hill said the Chinese decision was largely a response to the State Government's `Into Asia Strategy'.
"During the Into Asia Conference in Perth, one of Zhejiang's most high ranking officials - the Provincial Deputy Chief of Administration, Mr Wu Jianrong - said his Government viewed the strategy as 'significant' and indicative that WA was getting serious about regional trade development," the Minister said.
"Mr Wu, who has special responsibility for foreign affairs and trade, made no bones about it: Zhejiang values what we have achieved in mutual understanding, friendship and bilateral trade, and now wants to see those links expanded even further."
Mr Hill said with the State Government's new China Export Market Support Scheme, WA companies were in a position to take the initiative on Chinese trade and capitalise on China's economic expansion.
"Establishing official representation both here and in China will be of major assistance to business," he said.
The Minister said he hoped to see arrangements for representation completed early in the New Year.