The Palaszczuk Government has strengthened Queensland’s trade ties with Southeast Asia by launching an expanded trade and investment office in Singapore.
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Ministerial Champion for International Education Kate Jones officially opened the new office on behalf of the Premier, which employs five specialised staff, on the first leg of her seven-day trade mission to Singapore and India.
“Having a strong presence in one of the world’s fastest growing regions makes a lot of sense,” she said.
“People want to invest in Queensland. By expanding our trade hub in Singapore, we’re making sure we have the ability to capitalise on these opportunities when they come.”
Ms Jones said in 2017-18 Queensland’s merchandise exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region was $4.8 billion.
“ASEAN countries are Queensland’s fifth-largest export market for merchandise,” she said.
“This is a huge market and it’s only growing in the future. Singapore is the epicentre of new opportunity in this region – that’s why it’s so important that we have a strong presence here.
“This region is also a crucial stopover for tourists from right around the world. By having a hub in Singapore, we can make sure Queensland is front of mind for international tourists planning the next phase of their trip.”
Queensland Government ASEAN Trade and Investment Commissioner Tom Calder said Queensland had some great competitive advantages in the hospitality, health and resources sectors.
“The focus at the moment is on the Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia markets,” Mr Calder said.
“Investment, food and agriculture and education opportunities are also key priorities across the region.
“Innovation and smart cities technology are a focus in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam and energy is key in Vietnam and Indonesia.”
“There is a big demand for vocational education and training across the region as nearly all ASEAN economies are looking to develop a skilled workforce to underpin industry attraction and development.”
Queensland sold more than $620 million worth of goods to Singapore last financial year, representing the state’s 16th largest goods export market.
As a global financial centre and tech-hub, Singapore also presents major opportunities to attract investment into the growing Queensland knowledge economy.
Trade and Investment Queensland, the government’s global business agency, manages the Singapore office, which is one of 15 offices in 12 markets.
The Singapore office was expanded as an initiative under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy.
“Singapore is not only a growing export destination for Queensland goods and services but also an important source of investment capital for our state,” Ms Jones said.
“It’s also well-placed to help us take full advantage of the emerging opportunities in the broader ASEAN region.”
ASEAN has 10-member nations: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and Myanmar.