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Unprecedented opportunities await Tasmanian businesses after a Chinese trade mission promises to unlock lucrative new markets.

The State Government trade mission will deliver opportunities to export more fresh produce, attract more overseas students and highlight Hobart as the Antarctic gateway.

The exercise will enhance connections and create new opportunities for business and will deliver more jobs statewide.

Growth and certainty will follow a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a co-operation mechanism to improve the international market competitiveness of Tasmanian fresh food products and the Shanghai Win-Chain supply chain.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry members will now be able to link with Chinese Chambers of Commerce – delivering unprecedented face-to-face opportunities with clients and potential clients.

More than 80 per cent of Tasmania’s international exports are to Asian markets and that figure is increasing. Facts deride Opposition and Green criticisms of the Government – given the trade mission involved more than 50 meetings and engagements with major industry leaders and businesses over 13 days.

TCCI CEO Michael Bailey was one of the 30 Tasmanian business leaders and owners who went on the trip, which he said was a “huge success”.

“Suggesting that the Premier was on holidays because he visited the Great Wall of China is to not understand the Chinese culture,” Mr Bailey said.

“One of the major outcomes of the mission was the understanding of how Tasmania needs to connect with Chinese markets. To crack the local markets we need to work with the local provinces, or local government.”

Mr Bailey said as well as linking with Chinese chambers, the TCCI would lead a trade mission to China in 2019 working with AusCham in Shanghai and Beijing.

Mr Hodgman said there was a very positive perception in China of what Tasmania offered.

“(This has resulted in) a corresponding increase in trade in recent years in areas where we have a competitive advantage, including agriculture, aquaculture, energy, mining, forestry and tourism,” Mr Hodgman said.

Primary Industries and Water Minister Sarah Courtney said our fruit, seafood, red meat, wool, dairy, wine and whisky were regarded as world-class and were increasingly sought in Asian markets.

“Importantly, this trade mission connected Tasmania producers and industry representatives with key buyers, importers and trade experts which is expected to further boost export demand and create more jobs in Tasmania.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hodgman welcomed the announcement that the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long would dock in Hobart twice this summer – estimating it would generate $2.5 million for the economy.

“It will be a stop that generates an extraordinary amount of economic activity for Tasmanian businesses. Tasmania Polar Network has been part of our trade mission so they’ve be working very closely with our Chinese counterparts.”

A MOU between Putuo Institute of Education Shanghai and Study Tasmania will enhance international education.

The MOU includes sharing teaching resources, materials and teacher exchange.

Opportunities will also arise to co-operate on educational programmes including science, technology and mathematics, arts and the Antarctic.

Highlights of the trade mission were:

• facilitating direct contacts for Tasmanian businesses with potential new customers, including at Asia’s leading trade show for fruit and vegetable marketing;

• signing an agreement with China’s largest fresh produce e-commerce platform to support pathways to markets;

• hosting a “Showcase Tasmania” event in Shanghai where Tasmanian businesses promoted products to industry leaders in the Chinese food and beverage sector

• supporting the launch into the Chinese market of Tasmania’s Springvale Wines and Wellington Water, sourced from Burnie’s Dew South;

• meeting with major travel agents in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore to promote Tasmania as a premium destination;

• hosting agribusiness and investor round-tables to promote Tasmania’s primary industries, agritech and development opportunities;

• the announcement of two visits from the Chinese icebreaker XueLong which will deliver about a $2.5 million boost to Tasmania’s economy;

• promoting Tasmania’s renewable energy expertise and opportunities here for further development; and

•- signing a new MOU with the Putuo District (Shanghai) Institute of Education to encourage visits and exchange trips between Tasmania and China, which supports the Government’s Global Education Growth Strategy.