On 7 March, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia; Hon. David Ridgway MLC, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; Mr Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, Consul-General of Japan to VIC, TAS and SA and the Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court AC, opened the South Australian trade & investment office. Later that day, Commissioner, South Australia - Japan and Korea was announced, which we were delighted to hear would be our very own Chair, Sally Townsend. The new office will be co-located in the Australian Embassy alongside Austrade. The office will cover the North East Asia Region – including Korea – which accounts for more than $1.07 billion a year in SA exports. Minister Ridgway said the office was the second to be opened by the Marshall Government as part of its $12.8 million investment, following the establishment of the Shanghai, China, office in November last year. The official press release can be found onlinehere. An official reception was hosted at Happo-en to mark the occasion. Guests were treated to a beautiful 3-course meal matched perfectly with South Australian wine, a sake barrel breaking ceremony, as well as a tuna carving demonstration and when it came time to leave, guests were given a goodie bag of South Australian treats including Haigh’s chocolate and Penfolds wine. Guests included Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chair and Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chair, Dr Akio Mimura, and Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court AC, as well as representatives from the SA sister prefecture, Okayama, and a large contingent of Tokyo and South Australian business representatives ANZCCJ’s Executive Council together with some industry representatives met with South Australian government and business representatives on 7 March ahead of the official opening of South Australia’s trade office in Tokyo later that day. As part of the lunch meeting, which was hosted at the Park Hyatt, we met with South Australian Governor HE the Hon. Hieu Van Le; Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Hon. David Ridgway MLC; Consul-General of Japan to VIC, TAS and SA, Kazuyoshi Matsunaga; Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment (DTTI), Megan Antcliff; CEO, Food SA, Catherine Sayer; CEO, Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Brian Jeffriess AM; CEO,
AusVeg SA, Jordan Brooke-Barnett; Chair, AusVeg SA, Kingsley Songer; Director, Low Carbon Economy Unit, Department for Energy and Mining, Richard Day; Official Secretary to the Governor of SA, Mr Hugh Borrowman; and Chief of Staff to Minister Ridgway, Scott Kompo-Harms.
The South Australian (SA) delegation enlightened us with their trade and economic priorities, including with respect to Japan and their plans to diversify SA’s offerings to the international market. What stood out from the meeting was the overwhelming sense that SA had a strong story to tell in Japan, for example, 80% of Australia’s wine is produced in SA, 90% of Australia’s tuna output is from SA and it hosts the world’s largest li-ion batteries, drawing large international investments from companies like Tesla and NEC. Telling this story would be an important task for the new SA office.
Some common themes discussed at the lunch included:
-The need to raise SA’s profile in Japan, as well as SA contributing to the over-arching Australia brand on the ground and in the regions of Japan;
-Attracting Japanese investment into SA as a priority – and a key way to approach this will be SA looking at a range of possible investors;
-SA considering Japanese partners as more than investment sources, but considering what know-how, and other partnerships they could potentially tap into within the investment relationship; and-The compelling renewable energy story in SA also needed to be shared. SA had a number of successful case studies which has put SA on the map as “the renewable energy state of Australia”. This has left further food for thought as
the Chamber works to change perceptions of Australian trade offerings to the Japanese market, and with renewable energies being a priority industry focus area for Australia and Japan as well as our chamber.A number of important points were made throughout the meeting, but a key message our chamber delivered to the SA side was that this was the right time for SA to open this office: With a number of high profile events raising Japan’s profile further within the international business community; and Japan’s efforts to open itself up further to the international community with changes in immigration rules, and greater free trade access through FTAs. We also conveyed how important this office would be in offering a gateway for SA companies to learn more about the Japanese market and tap into commercial partnership and investment opportunities here. Without a presence, relationships can’t be fully built and maintained in Japan. We are also glad to
see that the new Commissioner, South Australia – Japan, Korea, will be our very own Chair, Sally Townsend. The office officially opened on 7 March, with a ribbon cutting ceremony (photos below – in document), where the office will be co-located within Austrade. Sally started in the role on 18 March.