One Belt One Road: Australia 'sees merit' in China's new Silk Road initiative

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Australia is receptive to exploring commercial opportunities China's new Silk Road presents to the country's businesses, but any decisions would remain incumbent on national interest, Trade Minister Steven Ciobo says.

The One Belt One Road initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature foreign and economic policy espousing billions of dollars of infrastructure investment linking Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond.

The ambitious plan is to build a vast network of new trade routes across the globe, multiple high-speed rail networks to penetrate Europe, massive ports across Asia and Africa and a series of free-trade zones.

Mr Ciobo said there were a lot of opportunities for Australian businesses to be involved in China's new initiatives.

"We see much merit in the Belt and Road initiative, we see opportunities for collaboration, but we take decisions about initiatives in Australia on the basis of what is Australia's national interest," he said.

"Although the northern Australia initiative is separate to the Belt and Road Initiative, there are clearly complementarities there so we can share knowledge and we can share experience for the benefit of both nations."

The plan was unveiled at a two-day summit in Beijing in which 28 world leaders and representatives from another 70 countries attended.

Opening the summit on Sunday, Mr Xi pledged $124 billion in funding toward the initiative.