Howard arrived Tuesday afternoon in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the official Xinhua News Agency said. He was scheduled to inaugurate a US$3.6 billion gas terminal in the city on Wednesday.
Howard would also meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and attend a conference, Jiang said. During Wen's visit to Australia in April this year, he had said the two countries' economies were "highly complementary," she said.
The terminal was built to receive liquefied natural gas shipments from Australia - part of a 25 billion Australian dollar 25-year gas contract that is Australia's single biggest resource contract, the AP reports.
China is now Australia's second largest export market, after Japan. Sales of Australian of coal, farm products, iron ore and other resources drove a 46 percent increase in exports to China last year, to US$11.8 billion.