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CANBERRA, Jan 29 AAP

January 29 2013, 11:30AM

Trade Minister Craig Emerson says a new survey, showing most Australian businesses operating in China believe the Asian Century will bring a wealth of opportunities, reflects government thinking.

Dr Emerson, who is assisting the prime minister on Labor's Asian Century policy, says the optimism is well-founded.

"China's shift to a consumer-driven growth model is creating huge demand for a range of high-value Australian goods and services, as well as our traditional commodity exports," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Australia China Business Perceptions survey found 69 per cent of survey respondents were optimistic about China's economy and 66 per cent were positive about the outlook for their own organisation within it.

Conducted for Austrade and the Australian Chambers of Commerce in China by Sweeney Research, the survey found that 24 per cent of businesses were "extremely likely" to expand their presence in China, while a further 29 per cent were "very likely" to do so.

Dr Emerson says the government's Asian Century white paper is all about building Australia's ability to meet Chinese demand, while ensuring its own future prosperity.

Separately, the minister said the government would be introducing legislation this year that would amend the scope of its export credit agency to help small businesses looking to expand in Asia.

Dr Emerson said small and medium-sized enterprises would benefit most from the changes to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), which would be given new powers to better support manufacturing and service businesses.