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Premier Should Broaden Asian Engagement

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 3 April 2016

Tags: Trade, Taiwan, Exports

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

With the Premier set to embark on the fourth Tasmanian trade delegation to China in the past two years, we are at risk of ignoring other key Asian export markets which make a massive contribution to the State's economy.

While maintaining strong links with China is important, the value of exports to China has fallen in recent years while exports to Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand continue to grow.

The Department of State Growth's own trade figures* show that in 2014-15, exports to China contracted and were worth $488 million to the State, and exports to Taiwan grew to $322 million.

The total value of Tasmanian exports to Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand was $726 million in 2014-15.

In the past two years, we have sent four trade delegations to China - three attended by the Premier and one by the Minister for State Growth - yet there hasn't been a delegation to Taiwan in more than a decade.

We are at risk of putting all our export eggs in one basket and neglecting other key trading relationships in Asia.

It is well past time a Tasmanian trade delegation was sent to Taiwan in order to strengthen these ties and build more diversity and resilience in to the State's export economy.

Failing to diversify our Asian engagement strategy lets down Tasmanian producers and potentially weakens their capacity to grow sales in important markets outside China.

The slavish attention paid to China is an unstrategic approach to economic development in Tasmania and the Liberal government needs to get serious about resetting the balance for our future prosperity.



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