QLD_CM_BIZ_PORTS_19NOV18
QLD_CM_BIZ_PORTS_19NOV18

How much this black gold is worth to state

QUEENSLAND is on the verge of an economic jackpot as new figures show that coal is underpinning a $14.7 billion a year cash boom under the China free-trade deal.

It comes ahead of major free trade talks in Beijing today, which could open up new markets for Australia - including in ever growing India.

With the Adani coal mine on the brink of officially starting construction, such a deal would create major opportunities and an even bigger cash injection.

Queensland exported $26.3 billion worth of goods to China in 2018.

That figure was up $14.7 billion from 2015 when the China Free Trade Agreement was signed.

Coal exports led the way with $9.8 billion heading to China last year - up more than $4.9 billion since the deal with signed three years earlier.

Trade Minister Simon ­Birmingham will say today that the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to be negotiated, would help trade with 16 Indo-Pacific nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

"I am optimistic that during our meeting here in Beijing we will make real progress," he will say at the Centre for China and Globalisation.

"Conclusion this year would strengthen trade and investment links across RCEP ­markets, and increase opportunities for businesses to operate regionally."

He said it would send a message to the world that the countries were "rejecting the lure of greater protectionism". Australia has walked a fine line with its trading partners, China and the US, as the two engage in a trade war.

Canberra's relationship with China has also been strained in the past few years over questions of foreign ­interference.

Senator Birmingham will say Australia wants to grow its relationship with China.

"We will have our disagreements from time to time, but throughout, we should co-operate for our mutual benefit," he said.

Coal is not the only Queensland export to grow with China.

Frozen beef exports are now worth $575.4 million.

That figure was up more than 50 per cent since the FTA was signed in 2015.

Aluminium ore exports to China rose to $847.7 million from $629 million and Zinc exports rose slightly to $499.7 million over the same period.