BETTER business relationships with South East Asia is the focus of new funding pledged by the government of South Australia.
The premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, announced today that he has promised AUD$1 million as a first step toward developing a comprehensive and targeted engagement strategy for ASEAN.
“South Australia already has strong trade and cultural ties with the many countries that form South East Asia,’’ he said.
“A well-thought out strategy will better position South Australian businesses and institutions to identify opportunities in this diverse region.’’
As part of the strategy the South Australian government will appoint a South East Asian adviser, expected to be announced in early 2015.
South Australia's trade with South East Asia is worth nearly AUD$2 billion, made up of exports in wine, seafood, fine foods, wheat and barely, and natural resources. The state also has strong educational links through it's three main universities.
Chairman of the Council for International Trade and Commerce of South Australia Mr Francis Wong said he welcomed the commitment from the Premier.
“A lot of the focus recently has been on the larger economies of China and India,’’ he said.
“South East Asia is a mature economy that thrives on people to people relationships which will suit South Australia ideally as we are a smaller state and don’t have a lot of large corporations here which compete in those bigger markets.
“This commitment to ASEAN provides a fantastic opportunity for small to medium South Australian enterprises.
“It will also help provide a gateway to the China and India economies.
South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the 2014-15 State Budget includes $1.1 million over the next four years to develop the engagement strategy for South East Asia.
“In the year to April 2014, South Australia’s exports to ASEAN grew eight per cent to $1.965 billion to comprise 16 per cent of the State’s outbound trade,” he said.