Seek­ing trade op­por­tu­ni­ties

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

A Shep­par­ton del­e­ga­tion has been in China and In­done­sia to show­case the re­gion’s fruit prod­uct and boost trade op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The four-per­son del­e­ga­tion, in­clud­ing City of Greater Shep­par­ton Mayor Kim O’Ke­effe, lo­cal or­chardist Peter Hall and coun­cil staff, vis­ited the Asian coun­tries re­cently with the hope of in­creas­ing ex­port po­ten­tial to China and at­tract­ing in­vest­ment to Shep­par­ton.

Ahead of the visit, Cr O’Ke­effe took to so­cial me­dia to out­line the goals of the 11-day trip, which in­cluded trade and busi­ness stops in ‘‘friend­ship city’’ Jin­tan, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong leg in par­tic­u­lar in­volved a Greater Shep­par­ton stall be­ing hosted at a highly-re­garded fruit expo.

‘‘We have some in­cred­i­ble meet­ings or­gan­ised over those 11 days. We’ll be lob­by­ing for in­vest­ment and op­por­tu­nity for our grow­ers,’’ Cr O’Ke­effe said be­fore the visit.

‘‘We’ve al­ready got some con­ver­sa­tions that have started, so we’ll be con­tin­u­ing those.’’

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Har­riott said the del­e­ga­tion had opted to play a larger role at the Hong Kong Fruit Lo­gis­tica Expo this year, ‘‘to sup­port many of our lo­cal grow­ers that go to this event’’.

‘‘We want to see what in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able to come back this way,’’ Mr Har­riott said Grower in­put . . . Or­chardist Peter Hall was part of the del­e­ga­tion to China. when asked about whether op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­isted for ex­panded trade with In­done­sia.

‘‘We want to ex­port more prod­uct to Asia.

‘‘In­done­sia is grow­ing at an in­cred­i­ble rate . . . Ob­vi­ously it’s a mar­ket that’s cre­at­ing large de­mand.’’

Mr Har­riott said the coun­cil would aim to sit down with var­i­ous lo­cal grow­ers on the del­e­ga­tion’s re­turn to de­brief and ‘‘down­load’’.

Com­mit­tee for Greater Shep­par­ton chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Bir­rell said it was vi­tal for the city to be ‘‘en­gag­ing with our big­gest trad­ing part­ners’’.

‘‘Having said that, I think it’s in­cum­bent upon the whole re­gion, not just . . . the com­mu­nity’s lead­er­ship, to de­velop a strate­gic ap­proach to fol­low­ing up on op­por­tu­ni­ties that come out of these del­e­ga­tions,’’ Mr Bir­rell said.

He stressed the im­por­tance of well-es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships, but also telling a broader story ‘‘about who we are . . . and what our com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage is’’.

‘‘You’ve got to de­velop long-term re­la­tion­ships and trust,’’ he said.

The coun­cil had ear­lier this year put the call out for a lo­cal grower to join the del­e­ga­tion to help find busi­ness and ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties and rep­re­sent the in­dus­try

I think it’s in­cum­bent upon the whole re­gion, not just . . . the com­mu­nity’s lead­er­ship, to de­velop a strate­gic ap­proach to fol­low­ing up on op­por­tu­ni­ties that come out of these del­e­ga­tions. Com­mit­tee for Greater Shep­par­ton chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Bir­rell

at the expo.

It was at the time hope­ful the visit could in­clude new sup­ply agree­ments be­ing reached.

Coun­cil­lors in March signed off on Cr O’Ke­effe join­ing the del­e­ga­tion to flesh out fur­ther trade chan­nels, which it ex­pected would yield ben­e­fits of more than the $36 000 cost.

It would be re­miss not to fol­low up on the op­por­tu­ni­ties pos­si­ble, coun­cil­lors said at the time.

The coun­cil’s sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Geral­dine Chris­tou — also on the del­e­ga­tion — had this year said bring­ing a grower pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for them to be in­volved di­rectly in dis­cus­sions with po­ten­tial clients, in­clud­ing tak­ing part in ne­go­ti­a­tions and reach­ing agree­ments while there.

Pro­mot­ing re­gion . . . City of Greater Shep­par­ton Mayor Kim O’Ke­effe says the group that vis­ited China was lob­by­ing for in­vest­ments and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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