April 2019

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Australia-Hong Kong FTA signed off

The new Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and associated investment agreement will lock in zero tariffs on goods, guarantee market access for service suppliers and improve conditions for two-way investment once in force.

The new Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and associated investment agreement will lock in zero tariffs on goods, guarantee market access for service suppliers and improve conditions for two-way investment once in force.

The agreements were signed in Sydney on 26 March by Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham, and Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau.

The FTA and investment agreement cover trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement, competition and more.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Greater China and Hong Kong Julie-Anne Nichols said the agreements would strengthen relationships with this significant trading partner.

‘The Australia-Hong Kong FTA will guarantee continued access to the Hong Kong market for Queensland businesses exporting education, finance and professional services,’ she said.

‘It will also guarantee that Hong Kong will not apply tariffs to Queensland goods exports in the future.

‘Hong Kong is an important business base in Asia and a gateway to showcase Queensland’s premium goods and services to the region.

‘I think the FTA will also create broader opportunities for Queensland in the Greater Bay Area, which includes Hong Kong, 9 mainland China cities and Macau.’

Trading rules on ecommerce, financial services, telecommunications and intellectual property were also agreed. For Queensland businesses making long-term investment decisions, this will provide greater regulatory certainty.

Before the agreements can come into force, both countries must complete their own domestic treaty-making processes. For Australia, this will include tabling the text of the agreements in federal parliament and an inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

Queensland’s merchandise exports to Hong Kong were valued at $379.3 million in 2017–18, with the top export commodities being meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, and coal.

If you’d like advice on exporting to Hong Kong or other overseas markets, contact TIQ today.

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Grants available for biomedical businesses

Queensland-based biomedical businesses interested in attracting new domestic and international clients can now apply for funding from Round 2 of the Queensland Biomedical Voucher Program.

Queensland-based biomedical businesses interested in attracting new domestic and international clients can now apply for funding from Round 2 of the Queensland Biomedical Voucher Program.

The program offers up to 50% of the fees that a Queensland biomedical provider would normally charge a national or international client to develop the client’s biomedical product in Queensland, up to a cap of $250,000 (with the client paying the other 50%).

Services that are eligible for funding include:

  • design development and validation
  • prototype building and testing
  • contract development and/or manufacturing
  • contract research, specialist advice or professional services
  • commercialisation advice and services
  • the cost of small items of plant and equipment needed to provide the biomedical services.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said that Round 1 of the program had attracted a Canadian company and 3 interstate businesses to access Queensland’s biomedical capabilities.

‘Our Round 1 funding support of $579,367 (excluding GST) leveraged impressive co-funding of $4,861,161,’ Mr Dick said.

‘This is a significant inflow of capital and we expect it will boost future collaborations and create opportunities for other Queensland-based businesses who can assist in commercialising new biomedical products.

‘We hope Round 2 is equally successful in bringing customers and capital to Queensland and embedding our world-class biomedical infrastructure and capabilities in the national and international biomedical product value chain.’

Round 1 recipients included Patheon, which is now providing services to Montreal-based Forbius to develop an antibody drug to help treat rapidly progressing cancers, and to Sydney-based DendroCyte for its BioTech project, which will see the development of a new monoclonal antibody to improve bone marrow transplant outcomes.

Businesses interested in applying should read the program guidelines first.

Applications are due 12 noon Thursday 27 June.

An expert panel will then assess applications against criteria that will identify projects that offer the greatest benefit to the local biomedical industry, and to Queensland.

Biomedicine is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

TIQ is working with a number of Queensland’s biomedical businesses to explore their export opportunities.

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Learn how to write winning investment proposals

With practical content and great networking opportunities, TIQ’s Business growth essentials workshops are hitting the mark according to participant feedback.

With practical content and great networking opportunities, TIQ’s Business growth essentials workshops are hitting the mark according to participant feedback.

The Bundaberg ‘Attract funding’ workshop in late March attracted 55 attendees to hear from highly regarded speakers and learn from relevant case studies.

Attendee Dennis O’Brien, Export and Quality Assurance Manager of Australian Seafood, said the seminar highlighted the variety of products and the extent of business success in the Wide Bay area.

‘I was very impressed with the diverse range of guest speakers and the high degree of consistency between the speakers,’ he said.

The workshop also addressed how to partner with TIQ to achieve outcomes.

‘There is value in knowing that a body of people at TIQ are out there ready to help establish new business in the Wide Bay area,’ Dennis said.

Getting to meet business leaders from the Wide Bay Burnett community was an added benefit for attendee Sebastian Cerone of Less Industries.

‘It was inspiring to have so many businesspeople in one place and to hear their stories,’ Mr Cerone said.

‘The forum was amazing and exactly what I needed.

‘I congratulate TIQ on the investment training initiative and would like to do more,’ he said.

The ‘Attract funding’ workshops were part of TIQ’s Business growth essentials series, which has been rolling out across regional Queensland since February.

Next in the series will be ‘Create winning investment proposals’, which will run from late April into May in locations across Queensland.

The workshops are being funded under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, which aims to increase Queensland’s export and investment outcomes.