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China visit will explore trade opportunities

A North Queensland trade delegation that will visit Guangdong Province in the People’s Republic of China this month is a significant initiative in cementing industry relations between North Queensland and southern China.

Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Frank Beveridge and CEO Mark Crawley are lead North Queensland delegates for the visit.

Councillor Beveridge is chairman of the North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQROC). This organisation draws membership from the Burdekin, Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Townsville and Palm Island councils.

Cr Beveridge said the Guangdong visit is being facilitated by Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) which has offices in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Townsville. TIQ officers were heavily involved in facilitating an inbound delegation last month from the Guangdong Logistic Industry Association and the Huizhou Government in China. The delegates have been exploring opportunities between China and North Queensland as part of China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative.

“That visit, was very encouraging and had a significant potential outcomes for our region,” Cr Beveridge said.

“Guangdong Logistics Industry Association signed a number of MOUs with a number of groups including Charters Towers Regional Council to progress opportunities for direct maritime logistics for livestock and freight between our region and southern China.”

The Guangdong Logistic Industry Association and the Huizhou Government also signed an MOU with the Port of Townsville during the same visit. This is a cooperative approach to develop direct shipping between the two cities.

During their visit, the Chinese delegation indicated they are supportive of a free trade zone concept within the region and are investigation direct logistic channels between North Queensland and Huizhou.

Cr Beveridge said each of the groups would be pursuing different outcomes. Charters Towers Regional Council would have two significant matters to pursue during the visit to Guangdong Province.

“We are very keen to continue to pursue the construction of a beef processing facility in Charters Towers. This proposed enterprise will operate as a stand-alone business with ability to market to domestic and global customers.

“We will also be pursuing education exchange opportunities during the visit. As an outcome of the MOU, education has been identified as an important area of common interest.

“We have a scheduled meeting with a Chinese university college in Guangzhou to explore possibilities in education exchange.”

The 20-strong North Queensland trade delegation will visit a variety of industry facilities during the Guangdong visit. These will include a cattle logistic centre a cattle feedlot and meat processing and port facilities,

The Queensland Government, through TIQ, is continuing to develop future trade and investment opportunities between China and North Queensland.

The delegation will leave Australia on 16 April and return on 22 April.

MG 10 April 2015

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