July 2020

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Grants to promote your products overseas

Queensland exporters can now apply to the 2020 round of the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme, which reimburses eligible exporters for a percentage of their promotional costs in overseas markets.

Queensland exporters can now apply to the 2020 round of the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme, which reimburses eligible exporters for a percentage of their promotional costs in overseas markets.

Exporters can apply for reimbursement of costs incurred in the 2019–2020 financial year.

This year the scheme has received an extra $49.8 million in funding to help businesses deal with expenses caused by COVID-19, including the cost of promotional events cancelled due to circumstances beyond a business’s control.

Applicants to EMDG must have:

  • income of less than $50 million in the grant year
  • incurred at least $15,000 of eligible expenses in the grant year (first-time applicants can combine two years’ expenses).

They must also have promoted one of the following:

  • export of goods or most services
  • inbound tourism
  • export of intellectual property and know-how
  • conferences and events held in Australia.

Successful applicants can receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible expenses, less the first $5,000, with a maximum grant of $150,000 per application.

Eligible expenses include the cost of:

  • overseas representation
  • marketing consultants and visits
  • trade fairs, seminars and in-store promotions
  • promotional literature and advertising
  • product samples
  • bringing potential buyers to Australia
  • registration and insurance of eligible intellectual property.

See Austrade’s EMDG webpage for more information. Applications close 30 November 2020.

The Queensland Government is also offering a range of grants and assistance to businesses affected by COVID-19. Visit the COVID-19 business assistance finder for more information.

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Skilled migrant’s research builds COVID-19 knowledge

A migrant who came to Queensland under the business and skilled migration program is now working on research that could contribute to the global fight against COVID-19.

A migrant who came to Queensland under the business and skilled migration program is now working on research that could contribute to the global fight against COVID-19.

Dr Adeshina Adekunle came to Australia on a student visa from Nigeria in 2013 to undertake his PhD, and is now an infectious diseases modeller at James Cook University (JCU), Townsville.

Earlier this year Dr Adekunle led a study that assessed the impact of Australia’s international travel bans on the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

He said Australia’s response to the pandemic had been effective.

‘Our study found Australia’s bans on international travel reduced the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by nearly 80%,’ Dr Adekunle said.

‘Compared to other countries, Australia did well in controlling the number of COVID-19 cases and for now, modified travel bans are important to prevent the importation of new cases.’

Dr Adekunle holds a PhD in Mathematical Biology from the University of New South Wales and is currently contributing to a number of other COVID-19 modelling research projects.

‘We want to know the effect of lockdowns on the control of COVID-19, the contribution of different age groups to the pandemic numbers and the impact of that on COVID-19 control,’ he said.

This is not the first time Dr Adekunle’s work has been important during a crisis response.

His research previously helped shaped policy during the 2019 Townsville floods, and he hopes to continue to contribute in this field.

‘During the floods, I was able to use my modelling skills to show that mosquito-borne diseases would not increase significantly,’ he said.

‘My greatest achievement so far has been the ability to use my skills to shape policy-making on the spread of infectious diseases in Australia and overseas.

‘These achievements are giant strides for me and I plan to continue to use my career to positively impact and contribute to the body of research knowledge on disease modelling.’

Now an Australian citizen, Dr Adekunle moved to Queensland to join the Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine at JCU and decided to make Queensland home after receiving a Skilled Nominated (Permanent) visa (subclass 190).

He considers working in regional north Queensland a perfect fit for him.

‘Queensland is called the Sunshine State and the state of Ondo where I was living in Nigeria is also called the Sunshine State,’ he said.

‘The tropical nature of Townsville is what I am used to and the simplicity of life, reduced traffic and easy access to fresh foods just melts my soul.

‘Also the fact that there’s this assumption that everyone is given a fair go at opportunities will make anyone want to stay and call here home.’

TIQ’s Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) team is responsible for state nomination of business and skilled migrants.

More information about business migration to Queensland is available on the BSMQ website.

Attracting global talent to Queensland is one of the goals of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Sun Metals to build NQ green hydrogen plant

North Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen facility will be built at Townsville’s Sun Metals Zinc Refinery thanks to a $5 million Queensland Government grant.

North Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen facility will be built at Townsville’s Sun Metals Zinc Refinery, thanks to a $5 million Queensland Government grant.

The project will establish North Queensland’s renewable hydrogen supply chain and boost Townsville’s profile as a hydrogen hotspot, using funds from the $15 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.

Sun Metals CEO Kiwon Park said the company was delighted to start its hydrogen journey with the support of the Queensland Government.

‘This first phase of our hydrogen project will only be the beginning of developing a substantial renewables hydrogen industry based in Townsville, which we hope in the long-term will create export opportunities,’ Mr Park said.

‘The hydrogen project is part of Sun Metals’ long-term plans for a totally integrated operation, including our zinc refinery, solar farm and other operations at Stuart.’

Hydrogen has traditionally been produced using fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide emissions during production.

Many countries are now looking to hydrogen produced using renewable power as a sustainable fuel for transport, power generation and other industrial uses.

Townsville has been identified as 1 of 3 hydrogen industry hotspots in Queensland, alongside Gladstone and Redlands, due to its prime location for renewable hydrogen production and export opportunities.

In early 2020, the state government appointed 3 Hydrogen Industry Champions to boost the profile of renewable hydrogen in those regions and promote fast-emerging opportunities in the industry.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said the Hydrogen Industry Development Fund would ensure Queensland leads the way in renewable hydrogen development in Australia.

‘Hydrogen has huge potential to pump millions of dollars into our economy and create jobs for workers in Townsville,’ Ms Jones said.

‘That’s why last year we released the Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019–2024 to help position Queensland at the forefront of renewable hydrogen production in Australia by 2030.

‘The Queensland Government has committed to transition to a clean energy future and we are pleased to be supporting regional projects that promote innovation, deliver economic growth and highly skilled jobs for Queenslanders.’

Queensland has a number of existing and proposed renewable hydrogen projects, and is already a hydrogen leader among Australian states.

TIQ hosted delegations interested in hydrogen and renewable energy from Korea and Japan in 2019, and represented Queensland alongside other global hydrogen leaders at the World Hydrogen Fuels Summit in Amsterdam in March this year.

Renewables and biofuels are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Luhrmann Appeal supports international students

A new fund set up at the suggestion of Lilly Luhrmann, daughter of film legend Baz Luhrmann, is helping international students affected by COVID-19.

A new fund set up at the suggestion of Lilly Luhrmann, daughter of film legend Baz Luhrmann, is helping international students affected by COVID-19.

Supported by the Queensland Government and the GIVIT online charity portal, the Study Queensland Luhrmann Appeal is gathering useful items and other kinds of support to help overseas students in Queensland.

Ms Luhrmann has been living and homeschooling on the Gold Coast with her family while father Baz directs his Elvis biopic (currently on hold due to COVID-19).

Speaking at the launch of the appeal in late May, the 16-year-old encouraged Queenslanders to donate what they could.

‘We are calling on Queenslanders to dig deep to support our international students with financial assistance, laptops, meal vouchers or internet data packages,’ she said.

‘I have been following the plight of international students and have been in touch with the team at Study Queensland to see how I can help.

‘As an international student myself, these are my friends.

‘I want to do what I can to help them during this difficult time.’

More than 80,000 international students are currently in Queensland, separated from family and their home countries. Some are far from home and unable to return home because of the pandemic.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said families of international students could rest assured the students were being cared for.

‘These are mostly young people far from home and unable to get home because of the pandemic,’ the Premier said.

‘I want their parents to know their children are being looked after the same as we would want our children looked after if they were in another country.’

As well as supporting the Luhrmann Appeal, the Queensland Government is providing $15 million for a range of initiatives delivered as part of the Queensland International Student Crisis Assistance Package.

If you would like to donate to the appeal, visit the GIVIT page.

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Qualipac exports Japanese pumpkins – to Japan!

The first commercial shipment of kabocha Japanese pumpkins exported by Gatton-based Qualipac has landed in Japan. It’s the first step towards Queensland securing a share of Japan’s $108 million kabocha import market.

The first commercial shipment of kabocha Japanese pumpkins exported by Gatton-based Qualipac has landed in Japan.

It’s the first step towards Queensland securing a share of Japan’s $108 million kabocha import market.

Qualipac Sales, Marketing and Business Development Manager Kees Versteeg said the shipment represented a significant breakthrough for the company, which had never grown kabocha before.

‘We’ve had to learn how to grow kabocha and when to harvest it and invest in new export packaging to meet the rigorous specifications of the Japanese market,’ Mr Versteeg said.

‘It has been a steep learning curve for everyone.’

Kabocha is a dietary staple in Japan and, unlike many pumpkin varieties, it’s perfect for microwave-ready meals because it retains its structure, taste and firmness when cooked.

Japan’s kabocha import market is currently dominated by New Zealand and Mexico.

The Queensland shipment was the result of a partnership between industry and government that aims to open up this market to Queensland farmers.

Qualipac worked with 2 South East Queensland growers, a Japanese importer, TIQ, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and The University of Queensland (UQ) to make the shipment happen.

The company also received funding from DAF’s Growing Queensland’s Food Exports program.

Mr Versteeg said the shipment was a great example of a strategic long-term approach to export, with growers, government and industry players working together.

‘We have been very fortunate to have the Japanese importer working with us and giving advice every step of the way, including support from their existing suppliers,’ he said.

The first shipment of almost 10 tonnes of Queensland kabocha landed in Japan on 10 June and was sold at Kasumi supermarkets in Chiba and Saitama Prefectures near Tokyo.

Feedback from the Japanese importer Wismettac has been positive and the company is hoping to undertake another trial shipment later this year.

Agriculture is one of Queensland’s traditional export strengths identified in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

If you’re a primary producer interested in export opportunities for your fresh produce, contact TIQ Japan or one of our regional TIQ offices.

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Rodds Bay Solar Farm secures UK investment

The promise of more than 300 new construction jobs in the Gladstone region took a significant step forward this week when UK investment group United Green committed to a major investment in the $350 million Rodds Bay Solar Farm.

The promise of more than 300 new construction jobs in the Gladstone region took a significant step forward this week when UK investment group United Green committed to a major investment in the $350 million Rodds Bay Solar Farm.

United Green has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake from the current project owner, Renew Estate.

Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said the solar farm, 50km south of Gladstone, would be one of Australia’s largest renewables projects.

‘The equity investment from United Green is a vote of confidence in Queensland’s renewables sector and Queensland’s economic recovery,’ the Premier said.

‘While there are still some steps for this project to follow, this major investment will mean hundreds of new jobs in the Gladstone region when the project is due to start later this year.’

Rodds Bay will be United Green’s first entry into the Australian energy market, adding to an impressive portfolio of utility-scale wind and solar developments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

United Green Chief Investment Officer Tim Mole welcomed the move.

‘We are delighted to be announcing our first project in Australia, in such a dynamic part of Central Queensland,’ he said.

‘The strength of support for this project from the Queensland Government, the local community, local businesses and other stakeholders gives us great confidence in taking this project forward to construction and marks Renew Estate as one of Australia’s leading renewable energy developers.

‘We look forward to engaging with local businesses over coming months.’

Renew Estate Director Vincent Dwyer said the Rodds Bay project was a commitment to a sustainable future for the Gladstone region.

‘We are passionate about the potential for Central Queensland as a renewable energy hub supporting heavy industry, and are committed to supporting an energy transition there in partnership with the community,’ he said.

‘We are delighted to have secured such a capable and experienced partner in United Green, with a shared vision for Queensland as a renewable energy powerhouse.

‘Rodds Bay will not only create direct employment through jobs on site but will create major opportunities for suppliers across a range of areas.’

Mr Dwyer welcomed the support provided by TIQ in securing United Green’s involvement.

‘We worked closely with Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) to secure the investment, and we are very grateful to TIQ for their introductions and support,’ he said.

‘We’re also continuing to work closely with them to connect into local supply chains as part of delivering jobs and regional economic development.’

Rodds Bay Solar Farm is the latest project for Renew Estate, which is a joint venture between Australian companies Energy Estate and Beast Solutions and global solar operator WIRSOL Energy (the Australian arm of Germany’s WIRCON Group, which also owns the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Clermont solar farms in Queensland).

Rodds Bay secured its notice to proceed earlier this year, and early works on the project are due to commence in coming months. Renew Estate will continue to be a shareholder.

Renewables are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, and Queensland’s renewables projects have attracted significant international investment, including the recently announced MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct near Warwick.

The Queensland Government has committed to a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

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Indonesia-Australia agreement comes into force

With the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) now in force as of 5 July, Queensland exporters are being urged to look for new opportunities in the rapidly expanding Indonesian market.

With the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) now in force as of 5 July, Queensland exporters are being urged to look for new opportunities in the rapidly expanding Indonesian market.

The IA-CEPA is a free trade agreement designed to foster further economic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia and to expand and diversify bilateral economic partnerships.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Indonesia Ben Giles said the new agreement should be a prompt for all Queensland exporters to turn their gaze to a massive but often neglected overseas market close to home.

‘Indonesia is one of Queensland’s nearest neighbours, with Jakarta only around 7 hours flying time from Brisbane and just a few hours’ time difference from Queensland,’ he said.

‘Indonesia is also home to around 267 million people – that’s more than 10 times Australia’s population – and a rapidly expanding middle class that is actively seeking unique, quality products and services.

‘Indonesia has always had extraordinary potential for Queensland exporters, but that will be even greater now that IA-CEPA has come into force and many Australian goods can enter the country either duty-free or under improved preferential arrangements.

‘While COVID-19 is obviously posing challenges here right now – as it is around the world – I do believe Indonesia should be on Queensland exporters’ list of markets to explore once normal trade can resume.’

Mr Giles said he expected the most noticeable trade benefits of IA-CEPA to be in agriculture, but encouraged Queensland exporters in all sectors to research Indonesian opportunities and to seek support from TIQ’s Jakarta-based team.

‘Historically, Queensland agricultural producers have been big exporters of live cattle, beef and a range of horticulture products to Indonesia,’ he said.

‘Under IA-CEPA, their Indonesian importers and partners will benefit from reduced tariffs and/or increased quotas.

‘The new agreement will also provide greater certainty for services suppliers such as education and healthcare providers who may wish to set up a presence in Indonesia with a local partner.

‘I’d encourage exporters to really commit to exploring the Indonesian market properly, and to take advantage of the insights and support that TIQ’s Queensland and Jakarta advisers can provide.’

Queensland exported $1.3 billion worth of goods to Indonesia in the 12 months to May 2020, making Indonesia Queensland’s tenth-largest export market in that period. Most exports were in the resources (including coal and minerals) and food sectors.

Queensland exports account for about one-fifth of Australia’s total goods exports to Indonesia, including about one-third of Australia’s beef exports to the Indonesian market.

TIQ relocated and expanded its Jakarta office in 2018, supported by funding committed under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you’d like advice on exporting into Indonesia, or other overseas markets, contact TIQ today.

Please note: Australia’s arrangements with Indonesia under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) remain unchanged. While IA-CEPA builds on outcomes in AANZFTA, the 2 agreements will co-exist and businesses will be able to continue to use AANZFTA.

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Vaxxas signs deals with global partners

Needle-free vaccines for the world are a step closer after Queensland biotech startup Vaxxas secured 2 major partnerships with international companies.

Needle-free vaccines for the world are a step closer after Queensland biotech start-up Vaxxas secured 2 major partnerships with international companies.

Vaxxas, a UniQuest spin-out company, will work with Merck and Harro Höfliger to commercialise its HD-MAP technology, which delivers vaccines via a nanopatch covered in thousands of tiny micro-projections.

The Queensland-developed technology has the potential to revolutionise global delivery of vaccines and help combat future pandemics.

Vaxxas Chief Development and Operations Officer Dr Angus Forster said the multimillion-dollar partnership with global pharmaceutical company Merck would support Vaxxas to progress its technology through late-stage clinical trials.

‘Working with Merck means verification of our technology and brings their development expertise and capacity into the project,’ Dr Forster said.

‘The next step for us is into late-stage clinical trials to demonstrate the technology’s benefits and safety on a larger scale.’

The partnership will see Vaxxas receive $18 million from Merck in a combination of equity funding and option fees and be eligible to receive future option, development, and commercial milestone payments.

Vaxxas has also signed an agreement with specialist pharmaceutical automation company Harro Höfliger to develop a manufacturing line able to produce tens of millions of units per week.

Dr Forster said the Harro Höfliger deal would help scale up Vaxxas’ production processes to commercial levels.

‘The additional investment is fantastic as we now need to identify, design and build a new facility to manufacture the nanopatch and the applicator device.

‘If we can set up a manufacturing base in Australia, hopefully in Brisbane, we can supply those components to our partners around the world and ensure manufacturing jobs stay here.’

Unlike typical liquid-based vaccines, the nanopatch allows vaccines to be coated on as a dry powder that does not require refrigeration.

This means the nanopatches can be used safely in remote areas where reliable refrigerated supply chains are not available.

Dr Forster said the ease of use also meant people who aren’t medical professionals could potentially administer vaccines themselves during future pandemics.

‘These vaccine patches could be sent out via the post service with instructions to allow people to vaccinate themselves and their families at home safely.

‘That would mean there’s less need for large groups of people to come to together and that would also let frontline medical staff focus on helping those who require emergency care.’

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said Vaxxas partnering with 2 major international players to commercialise its technology was a massive boost for Queensland’s biotech industry.

‘Vaxxas’ deals with major international partners show that it’s possible to have a biomanufacturing industry based on high-tech innovation in Queensland that’s competitive,’ Dr Moss said.

‘The ability for our biotech players to partner with global pharmaceutical companies and organisations like WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a huge validation of the Queensland industry’s global presence.’

Dr Forster said the new deals and upcoming projects meant that Vaxxas would be looking at hiring more than 40 new staff in the next 12–18 months, a doubling of current staff numbers.

TIQ has worked with both Vaxxas and UniQuest for many years, with the companies joining the Queensland Government’s annual delegations to the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotech event.

The biotech and biomedicine sector is identified as an emerging export strength in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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International student on Queensland’s COVID-19 frontline

A former international student’s battle with childhood respiratory illness has propelled him to the frontline of Queensland’s COVID-19 health response.

A former international student’s battle with childhood respiratory illness has propelled him to the frontline of Queensland’s COVID-19 health response.

Griffith University Master of Nursing graduate Suharto ‘Jao’ Jundam has been working at Redcliffe Hospital managing patients in the Medical Assessment Ward, including those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.

Mr Jundam said he developed a first-hand appreciation of nursing at a young age after spending time in hospital because of his asthma.

‘[Nursing] is a vocation – you choose to serve people no matter who they are, what their circumstances are, or what they’re in need of,’ Mr Jundam said.

‘I’d always been pulled to nursing, but having had a challenging condition myself, acute care became a real passion for me.’

The 25-year-old Filipino graduate was among a wave of former and current international students who stepped up to help the hospital and aged care system across Australia cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government temporarily waived the students’ 40 hour per fortnight work to ensure they were able to provide support when needed.

Prior his current appointment at Redcliffe Hospital, Mr Jundam spent time as an agency nurse at the Prince Charles, Mater and Princess Alexandria hospitals.

He said being part of the multi-disciplinary team at Redcliffe Hospital was rewarding.

‘There’s much more to the role than the health component – supporting the mental welfare of patients has been very important during COVID-19,’ Mr Jundam said.

‘When people are presenting, they can be experiencing a lot of anxiety, especially when they’re waiting for test results.

‘It’s important that we, as nurses, are there for the patient during that time.’

Study Queensland has introduced a range of support initiatives as part of the Queensland International Student Crisis Assistance Package to help international students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hong Kong visits Queensland – virtually

Potential business migrants in Hong Kong enjoyed a video, webinar, online booth and interactive chat promoting the benefits of a move to Queensland when TIQ participated in a cutting-edge virtual exhibition recently.

Potential business migrants in Hong Kong enjoyed a video, webinar, online booth and interactive chat promoting the benefits of a move to Queensland when TIQ participated in a cutting-edge virtual exhibition recently.

Organised by migration agent Ascent Step, the virtual exhibition was the first of its kind for Hong Kong, attracting plenty of interest from potential migrants plus attention from local media.

Attendees entered through a virtual exhibit hall, where they could watch a #Brisbaneby2025 video, then moved on to a virtual booth featuring a TIQ video and fact sheets with visa information.

The exhibit hall also featured live and pre-recorded webinars, and 2 chat rooms where attendees could ask questions in a group or request a personal video meeting with a representative.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Hong Kong Julia Herries said the exhibition aimed to give potential migrants a virtual experience with all the features of a face-to-face encounter while respecting COVID-19 health guidelines.

‘Congratulations to Ascent Step for creating such a great platform to communicate with potential business migrants on what Queensland can offer them in terms of lifestyle and business opportunities,’ she said.

‘I was very pleased to participate as a keynote webinar speaker along with my Brisbane-based colleagues Marney Richardson and Cynthia Chen from Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ).

‘We had more than 80 participants attend the webinar and I’m optimistic we’ll see genuine migration enquiries from good candidates as a result.’

Participants in the TIQ webinar were invited through 3 main local groups – the Federation of Australian Alumni Associations, Hong Kong Electronic Industries’ Association and manufacturing group Hong Kong Apparel Society Limited.

Attendees at the exhibition also heard from a range of organisations about what is required to move to or invest in Queensland, with tax and business information presented by firms such as Hong Kong accounting consultancy Fan, Chan & Co, Brisbane accountants Pilot Partners, and Brisbane migration agent Australia Asia Migration Consultants.

Local media also thought the exhibition was noteworthy, with Ascent Step exhibition organisers Jeff Chan and Jack So interviewed by Hong Kong finance television channel TVB.

Business visa applications from Hong Kong residents interested in moving to Queensland increased threefold in the 2019–20 financial year, a trend that is predicted to continue in the coming 12 months. The main business visa of interest is the Business Investor Stream (subclass 188) visa, which requires applicants to invest $1.5 million in Queensland Treasury Corporation bonds over 4 years.

The exhibition was held on 10 June and featured life-like theatre simulations as well as a range of other state-of-the-art virtual interfaces.

More information about business migration to Queensland is available on the BSMQ website.

Attracting investment to Queensland is one of the goals of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.