Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning and Advance Cairns Chairman Cam Charlton have paved the way for a business trade mission to China next year, following a series of deputations during the past week.
During a seven-day visit to China, taking in Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Cr Manning and Mr Charlton met with representatives from China Eastern Airways, the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) and business representatives eager to strengthen ties with Far North Queensland.
“At these meetings, we have confirmed Cairns’ support for direct flights from Shanghai and for increased investment opportunities.
“We have set in motion plans to sign an Agreement of Cooperation with TEDA when they send a delegation to Cairns in early in 2013,” Cr Manning said.
“Through this agreement, we intend to open the communication link between businesses in Cairns and in China to identify opportunities for economic growth, partnerships and exports.”
Mr Charlton said the agreement would be a precursor to an economic Trade Mission to China next year.
“With the support of Council, Advance Cairns will lead a contingent of Tropical North Queensland businesspeople as part of a Trade Mission led by Premier Campbell Newman next April,” Mr Charlton said.
“We will be looking to include local business representatives with an interest in establishing links with Chinese businesses.
“There are large corporations that already have an interest in Australia and are now looking at our region as a real investment destination.
“There are many potential opportunities for interaction between Far North Queensland and Asia and we are keen to explore areas of mutual benefit.”
Cr Manning and Mr Charlton agree that maintaining direct flights between Shanghai and Cairns was essential to long-term network-building.
“Increased business travel and freight haulage will go a long way towards shoring up the long-term viability of these flights,” Cr Manning said.
“Tourism remains a vital link in the chain, but we are looking to add more diversity to the Cairns product in relation to its attractiveness to China.
“Cairns has long had strong ties with China through its own heritage and development. We look forward to the next stage in this partnership.”