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Free Trade deal to be celebrated this Chinese New Year

Members of Pak Hok Pai perform a traditional lion dance in front of The Garden Tokyo on 7 February 2015. Lion dancing is a customary part of Chinese New Year celebrations, believed to ward away evil spirits and bring good fortune for the new year. Photo: © Kayla Canne 2015

By Kayla Canne

 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore will host an inaugural luncheon to reinforce trade and other ties between Sydney and Asia during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations this month, a City of Sydney spokeswoman said earlier this week.

“The Luncheon is designed to help the city business community understand future trends and opportunities across Asia, and to support efforts to expand business internationally,” the spokeswoman said.

“Recent free trade negotiations across Asia have created opportunities for Sydney businesses, and they need to make the most of these. The new Future Asia Business Luncheon is intended to deliver tangible insights to the business community, and deepen and extend their connections to Asia”

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was signed in November of last year, removing tariffs on 95 percent of Australian exports to China.

The spokeswoman said that Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival plays an important role in showcasing Sydney internationally as a dynamic, inclusive and multicultural metropolitan city.

This year’s celebrations will run from 13 Feb to 1 March, and will include a number of new events throughout the city.

Designed for the Beijing Olympic Games and in Australia for the first time, the Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors will light up Hickson Road Reserve from 13 to 22 Feb. On 14 Feb. all are welcome to take part in Lunar Streets, a new Asian food tasting festival throughout Chinatown, Koreatown and Thaitown.

Over 3,000 national and international performers will celebrate the Year of the Sheep during the Twilight Parade on 22 Feb.

Joce Santa Maria, a trustee of Pak Hok Pai, a kung fu group that performs lion dancing during the month of Chinese New Year, said that the celebrations are a way to expose the rest of Australia to the heritage and culture of their Chinese neighbors.

“The Free Trade Agreement, or really any act where these two great countries can come together in a common means of working together for business is good fortune for both countries,” Mr Maria said. “The Chinese community would be more than happy to celebrate in this.”

The Lord Mayor and Councillors, State Government representatives, and the Consul General of the People’s Republic in China, Li Huaxin, will attend various events throughout the month, the spokeswoman said.

Citizens should expect road closures throughout Chinatown, Koreatown and Thaitown during Lunar Streets on 14 Feb, and again on parts of George Street, Park Street, Hay Street and Harbour Street for the Twilight Parade on 22 Feb.
The festival will cost approximately $2.1 million, which is on par with last year.

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