Australia is keen to boost its economic relationship with China and encourage more Chinese businesses and businessmen to see the country as a place to invest.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that she wants it to be easier for foreign companies to do business in Australia and she sees China as a major contributor.

'Chinese investment is welcome in Australia as is shown by the steady stream of proposals approved by our Foreign Investment Review Board,' Gillard said at an Australia/China economic and co-operation trade forum.

'Australia seeks more investment opportunities offshore, including in China,' she added.

China buys a quarter of all Australian exports, while trade between the two generated income equivalent to more than $10,000 per Australian household last year, she said. Australia is China's seventh largest trading partner.

Gillard said decades of government liberalization of Australia's financial system, currency and trade regime have left the country in a strong position to deliver sustainable growth. She urged China to continue opening its economy and improve the rule of law to encourage investment by foreign companies.

'A clear, reliable legal and regulatory regime would be a major benefit that would provide a further boost to our economic partnership,' she explained.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang told the forum that Australia should help to facilitate purchases by Chinese state owned enterprises and that the relationship between the two countries should move beyond trade to include investment. Li added that China supports a free trade agreement with Australia.

Some are warning though that the rules for foreign investment in Australia could be clearer. For example, the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy says the Federal Government needs to set clear rules about foreign investment in the Woomera Prohibited Zone.

The Government has released a report outlining how the defence force and mining industry will share the area, including a zoning system with different levels of access.

Jason Kuchel from the chamber has said that though miners have lost Chinese investment in the past because there were no clear rules about foreign investment.

'Foreign investors don't mind if in some circumstances the rules prohibit certain investment or certain levels of investment, or perhaps put certain rules around that type of investment,' he said.

'As long as they know and have clarity and know that it's going to be consistently applied, then they will want to invest. A company can spend a lot of time, they can get a lot of expectations built up with a foreign company and without clear rules it can obviously be very disappointing to both parties and potentially damaging to our foreign relations,' he added.