South Australia will welcome more than 150 investment, trade and cultural delegates from its Chinese sister province Shandong, as part of the largest ever mission to the state.
Premier Jay Weatherill said it will be the first visit to the state for Shandong’s Communist Party Secretary Jiang Yikang, who is the highest ranking official in the province.
During his visit from 8-10 September Party Secretary Yikang will join the Premier to sign the South Australia-Shandong Friendly Co-operation Action Plan 2015-2018 – committing both sides to significantly increased trade, investment and cultural ties.
Economically Shandong is China’s third largest province with a population of 100 million and an annual GDP approaching USD $1trillion.
South Australia and Shandong share what is considered by many in China as a model sub-national relationship in the context of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Premier Weatherill said the Action Plan, which will be publicly released next week, sets out a framework that commits both sides to significantly enhanced programs, particularly in the areas of trade, education, tourism and cultural exchange.
“Among the programs is a commitment from Shandong to provide assistance to 20 South Australian companies to export into China through Shandong every year,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This assistance will give our exporters the opportunity to reach a lucrative new market which will allow them to expand and grow the number of South Australians they employ.
“We believe that Shandong is our window into China and equally we are encouraging Shandong to see South Australia as their window into Australia.”
The Action Plan will also develop cultural and sports exchanges, boost tourism, promote research and development cooperation on mining, health, aged care and disability services, urban-rural development, water, waste and environment management.
“The State Government will also support the signing of up to 10 new Memorandum of Understandings during the visit, on the back of the 29 agreements signed in May – some of these agreements have already resulted in significant trade outcomes and job creation.
“It’s a significant step forward and builds on our nearly thirty year sister State relationship, along with the mission I led to Shandong in May – the largest to ever leave the state,” Mr Weatherill said.
Minister for Investment and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith said it is an important opportunity for South Australia to showcase our capabilities and products, such as our premium food and wine, livestock and grain, tourism, water and environment management.
“Around 50 South Australian companies will participate in a trade expo at the National Wine Centre where they will be matched with Shandong businesses,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“Significant investors like the Shandong Landbridge Group will be investigating opportunities in port infrastructure and wine. The company recently bought Queensland’s Westside Petroleum for $200 million.
“Another investor visiting South Australia will be the Nanshan Group whose interests include the agriculture, textiles, aviation and aged care sectors. In May the Nanshan Group signed an agreement with Seppeltsfield Winery to purchase 1.5 million litres of wine.
“I hope that on a cultural level, South Australians will gain a greater understanding of Shandong and the opportunities for building a closer relationship.
To facilitate this, the State Government has assisted in establishing the Shandong Exhibition at the Royal Adelaide show.
“Spread across 144 square metres, the Shandong Exhibition is the largest international showcase ever held at the Show and it will include demonstrations of traditional dance, craft, noodle making, tourist attractions, popular products, agricultural goods and food.
“This exhibition will assist South Australians to further understand the modern Chinese commercial market and products, while also highlighting opportunities to work with Chinese partners,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.