SA’s trade representation top of trip agenda

State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall and Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone will join Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb at Indonesia-Australia Business Week in Jakarta today before travelling to Thailand and Malaysia meeting with government and industry stakeholders.
 
“A permanent South Australian presence on the ground in South East Asia and opportunities for businesses to access new export markets will be at the top of the agenda during this trip,” said Mr Tim Whetstone.
State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall and Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone will join Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb at Indonesia-Australia Business Week in Jakarta today before travelling to Thailand and Malaysia meeting with government and industry stakeholders.
 
“A permanent South Australian presence on the ground in South East Asia and opportunities for businesses to access new export markets will be at the top of the agenda during this trip,” said Mr Tim Whetstone.
 
“The need to expand South Australia’s in-country trade representation is clearly evident.  
 
“The State Government has dragged its feet on in-country trade representation, which is vital for establishing business relationships and links in the South East Asian region.
 
“In August, the Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the State Government would be increasing its presence in Austrade’s offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia but three months on, we are yet to see any action on this promise.
 
“I’ve spoken extensively to exporters across South Australia and they confirm having the ability to speak directly to overseas contacts on-the-ground, who have a sound knowledge of the local markets, is critical in creating export opportunities.”
 
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that South Australia’s merchandise exports to East Asia, which makes up almost 50 per cent of state’s exports, are down by 13.5 per cent
 
Those ABS figures also show that trade to Malaysia is down by 8.3 per cent,
 
Mr Whetstone said with adequate support, there is great potential for South Australia exporters to capitalise on growing demand in countries such as Indonesia.
 
“With unemployment sitting above 7.5 per cent, the state’s reliance on exports is increasing with the urgent need to grow the economy and create jobs,” Mr Whetstone said.
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