April 2020

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TIGs support regional Queensland during COVID-19

TIQ’s regional network is helping businesses across Queensland navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to build strength and resilience through Trade and Investment Groups (TIGs).

TIQ’s regional network is helping businesses across Queensland navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to build strength and resilience through Trade and Investment Groups (TIGs).

TIGs from Cairns to Ipswich met for the first time in 2020 during February and March, and will now look to hosting their next meetings online.

A TIQ initiative, TIGs bring together local councils, industry groups, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders involved in trade to enable a coordinated government response to trade and investment outcomes.

Director of TIQ’s Regional Network Denise Kreymborg said the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of the TIGs.

‘It’s important for the TIGs to keep moving forward and show regions that TIQ will be there to support them at all times,’ Ms Kreymborg said.

‘The next round of TIG meetings will function as an online check-in with members as they deal with COVID-19’s impacts on trade.

‘Collaboration is a valuable tool in any crisis and initiatives like taking TIG meetings online will ensure that local governments and industry groups continue to have opportunities to work together on solutions.

‘Queensland’s export industry will get through this crisis by being proactive and identifying the opportunities out there now and as the state moves into the recovery stage.’

Ms Kreymborg said feedback from participants so far had been positive.

‘Participants have told us they really appreciate the opportunities provided by TIG meetings, such as chances to increase connectivity, share information and identify priorities.’

TIQ has established TIGs in all regional areas where it has offices as part of its Regional Action Plan.

TIQ’s regional network is the secretariat for the meetings which are co-chaired by TIQ and the Regional Development Australia representative in each location.

Dates for the next round of TIG meetings will be confirmed shortly.

Supporting regional growth is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

You can learn more about the support available to exporters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on our TIQ industry recovery package page.

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Queensland persimmons to Thailand an Australian first

Amid the global business disruptions caused by COVID-19, a Lockyer Valley farmer recently became the first Australian producer to ship persimmons to Thailand under new export protocols.

Amid the global business disruptions caused by COVID-19, a Lockyer Valley farmer recently became the first Australian producer to ship persimmons to Thailand under new export protocols.

Fruit grower Ross Stuhmcke from Blackboy Ridge farm in Gatton sent a shipment of persimmons to Thailand on 25 March, the first Australian horticulture to use the phytosanitary irradiation pathway into the country.

Phytosanitary irradiation is a chemical-free and heat-free alternative to traditional treatments for controlling insects and other pests in exported fruit and vegetables.

Supporting the shipment was a collaborative effort between TIQ, Persimmons Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland), Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The new export protocol, negotiated by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, is currently only available for Queensland persimmons.

TIQ’s Principal Trade and Investment Officer for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs Bronwyn Warfield said TIQ had been working with Persimmons Australia to enable the shipment since December 2019.

‘Achieving a successful shipment now amid the disruption caused to export markets by COVID-19 is a massive result,’ Ms Warfield said.

‘TIQ helped Persimmons Australia pull together a team of experts to facilitate the many steps involved in meeting the Thai protocol.

‘It was very much a team effort with DAF, Austrade and DFAT all working together with industry to coordinate this shipment in very difficult conditions”.

Persimmons Australia President Chris Stillard said given the success of the shipment they would be seeking to expand exports in 2021.

‘Now that we have proven this pathway, and with hopefully better weather conditions next year, we are looking forward to doing an extended trial in 2021,’ he said.

Thailand imports around $23 million of persimmons annually, making it a prime target for Queensland persimmon growers.

Australia has been a leader in the development and application of phytosanitary irradiation, which has grown in popularity as international markets have sought higher-quality fresh produce to meet increasing consumer demands.

Mr Stuhmcke’s persimmon shipment left Brisbane on one of the few remaining flights to Bangkok following the grounding of many international carriers in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

It sold out shortly after clearing customs in Thailand on 27 March, and buyer feedback will be used to assist with marketing next year’s harvest.

Growers also hope that the shipment will pave the way for other Queensland horticultural products to be exported to Thailand.

Supporting exporters to enter new markets is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

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New sanitisers lend a hand during COVID-19

Two TIQ clients have quickly adapted their product ranges to ramp up production of much-needed hand sanitiser in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Two TIQ clients have quickly adapted their product ranges to ramp up production of much-needed hand sanitiser in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Their flexibility has helped them meet an important community need and diversify their income-streams during a challenging period.

Boutique liqueur maker Tamborine Mountain Distillery and Brisbane skincare product manufacturer Skin Nutrient are both producing hospital-grade hand sanitiser (75% alcohol).

Tamborine Mountain Distillery General Manager Gordon Chalmers said the company started making the sanitiser to meet urgent demand in the small community of Tamborine Mountain, approximately 70km south of Brisbane, when locals couldn’t buy the product.

‘We’re trying to do the right thing during terrible times to help slow the virus down,’ Mr Chalmers said.

‘We’re giving loads away to the most vulnerable members of the local community and local schools, aged-care facilities, pharmacies, ambulance and SES crews.

‘It’s also about trying to keep our staff employed – we want to make sure that we as a company are going to be here in 3 months or so.

‘Our bread-and-butter income-stream was our cellar-door tasting room at our distillery, which was closed down when the government introduced the restrictions on restaurants and bars.

‘Without producing hand sanitiser, we’d be looking at 5 years of hard work going up in smoke and that’s just not an option.’

Mr Chalmers said pivoting to produce hand sanitiser was easy thanks to his background in organic formulations for skin care.

‘There’s no difference between creating essential oils and alcohol – the distilling process is very similar,’ he said.

Mr Chalmers said the new product line had generated significant income, with the first day of hand sanitiser sales bringing in a normal month’s turnover.

Principal Trade and Investment Officer for the Ipswich Region Julie Mark has worked closely with Tamborine Mountain Distillery on their plans to enter overseas markets.

She said TIQ always encouraged clients to look at market diversity to ensure sustainability, and it was great to see the distillery putting this into practice.

‘Tamborine Mountain Distillery has taken this approach to whole new level by diversifying their product to support our health sector, our communities and the sustainability of their business in a very challenging situation that all businesses are facing with COVID-19,’ she said.

Meanwhile, at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane, Skin Nutrient Marketing and Creative Manager Breanna Sheather said the company had quickly ramped up production of a new hand sanitiser product when the COVID-19 outbreak first broke.

She said this had required some quick thinking to get product out the door as swiftly as possible.

‘About 6 weeks ago, we had to repurpose some of our bodywash bottles for the hand sanitiser packaging,’ Ms Sheather said.

‘These products are now readily available to Australian consumers online and in Woolworths supermarkets.

‘We also exported to China and other Asian countries when they were at their peak of the pandemic.

‘By the end of March, we had made over 2 million units.

‘We currently have an 8-week backorder for wholesale inquiries so we are ramping up production even further!’

Ms Sheather said exports of Skin Nutrient hand sanitiser would continue to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

You can learn more about the support available to exporters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on our TIQ industry recovery package page.

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Temporary COVID-19 changes to foreign investment rules

The Australian Government has announced temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, which may impact some Queensland projects.

The Australian Government has announced temporary changes to the foreign investment review framework arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, which may affect some Queensland projects.

From 29 March 2020, all proposed foreign investments subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 will require approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), regardless of the value of the investment or the nature of the investment application.

To achieve this, the monetary screening thresholds for all foreign investments under the Act have been temporarily reduced to $0.

TIQ Global Investment Commissioner Ross Buchanan said Queensland projects seeking foreign investment should be aware of the impact of these changes, but that Queensland is still open for business.

‘All levels of government continue to recognise the importance of foreign direct investment in the long term, especially as we manage and emerge from the current situation,’ Mr Buchanan said.

The FIRB will work with existing and new applicants to extend timeframes for reviewing applications (from 30 days to up to 6 months) to ensure sufficient time for screening. Urgent applications for investments that protect and support Australian business and Australian jobs will be prioritised.

The new measures are intended to safeguard Australia’s national interest during the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain in place for the duration of the current crisis.

The federal Treasurer will continue to review foreign investment proposals against the national interest on a case-by-case basis.

Further details of these changes can be found on the FIRB website.

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

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New BSMQ webinars meet COVID-19 challenge

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) has responded to COVID-19 restrictions by taking their international roadshows online, creating webinars that give migration agents in overseas countries the opportunity to learn all about ‘the Queensland advantage’.

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) has responded to COVID-19 restrictions by taking its international roadshows online, creating webinars that give overseas migration agents a chance to learn all about ‘the Queensland advantage’.

The webinars commenced on 2 April and will enable BSMQ to continue attracting entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals to migrate and invest in Queensland, initially through key Vietnamese migration firms.

The webinars will replace traditional in-country promotions in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, which were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BSMQ Acting Manager Kathleen Collingwood said it was vital to keep promoting Queensland as a business migration destination to help support the economy during post-COVID-19 recovery, and she was working with her team on digital initiatives to achieve this.

During the first webinar with migration firm Elite Living, BSMQ Senior Project Officer Marney Richardson explained details of the new small business owners’ pathway through the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491).

‘The 491 visa for small business owners is a new program created by BSMQ to reward small business owners who have invested in businesses in a regional communities and to encourage local employment within these businesses,’ Ms Richardson said.

‘New investment in regional areas to stimulate the economy will be critical in the post COVID-19 environment.’

Subsequent webinars will be held with other key Vietnamese migration and investment firms including AIMS and JADE VIP.

BSMQ is also working with TIQ’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices on similar initiatives.

In Hong Kong, the TIQ team will roll out a series of 4 webinars with key Hong Kong migration agents over April and May. BSMQ content will also be featured across Hong Kong stakeholders’ websites.

In Shanghai, BSMQ is working with TIQ Business Development Manager Eileen Liu to facilitate a pre-recorded presentation by TIQ Principal Project Officer Lin Han for Austar Group China, one of the biggest business migration firms in China.

The presentation will be followed by a live Q&A session for webinar attendees.

BSMQ is committed to delivering innovative online solutions for stakeholders and clients throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

More information about these initiatives is available on the BSMQ website.

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

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CleanCo and ACCIONA partner on Warwick wind farm

Queensland Government owned CleanCo is partnering with Spanish renewable energy company ACCIONA to build a wind farm near Warwick that will eventually have capacity to power about 700,000 homes.

Queensland Government owned CleanCo is partnering with Spanish renewable energy company ACCIONA to build a wind farm near Warwick that will eventually have capacity to power about 700,000 homes.

Construction of the 180-turbine MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct, about 50km south-west of Warwick, is due to begin in mid-2021, with the facility expected to be fully operational in 2024.

The precinct is set to be one of the world’s largest onshore wind farms.

The partnership will see ACCIONA develop and own turbines producing 926MW of power, with a further 100MW to be produced by turbines built and owned by CleanCo.

CleanCo will also buy 400MW of new renewable energy annually from ACCIONA under a 10-year power purchase agreement.

The green energy generated by the project is expected to save almost 3 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said projects like the wind farm are vital to Queensland’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

‘For the next few months, the entire focus of the Queensland Government is on protecting Queenslanders’ health, Queensland jobs and Queensland businesses,’ Ms Trad said.

‘But when we move into the recovery phase, we need shovel-ready projects that will support more jobs in more industries, especially in regional Queensland.’

Announcing the project, the Queensland Government said that the new precinct would be progressively connected to the state’s energy grid from 2022, via 64km of new powerlines from the project to Millmerran.

Minister for Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said state-owned Powerlink has already commenced working on the connection of the project to the grid.

Developing the renewable energy industry and attracting foreign direct investment are priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2021.

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CQU opens new Jakarta campus

Central Queensland University opened an Executive Business Training Centre in Jakarta earlier this month, taking the first step in exciting plans for an Indonesian presence.

Central Queensland University (CQU) opened an Executive Business Training Centre in Jakarta earlier this month, taking the first step in exciting plans for an Indonesian presence.

CQU is partnering with local institution Bakrie University on the new centre.

From July this year, students studying at the new centre will be able to earn a double degree comprising a Master of Management from Bakrie and a Master of Business Administration from CQU. Also on offer from July will be a double undergraduate degree in digital media, business and professional communication.

TIQ’s Jakarta office has worked with CQU on its Indonesian plans since 2017, introducing members of the CQU team to key government stakeholders and potential partners.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Indonesia Ben Giles said TIQ was delighted to support CQU, and could see potential benefits not just for the university but also for other Queensland businesses.

‘It’s been a pleasure working with CQU and we’re looking forward to doing more with them up here,’ he said.

‘They have worked extremely hard over the years to get to this point and their vision is very much a long-term one.

‘They also have a real “Team Queensland” approach, and are looking to involve a range of Queensland expertise and businesses on R&D projects they have in the pipeline across government and industry.’

CQU’s new Jakarta centre also has a marketing office, which will recruit students across the region for the university’s courses in both Indonesia and Queensland.

CQU also has plans to open an agriculture faculty in Bali in partnership with Ganesha University, and a world-class Beef and Cattle Research Centre of Excellence nearby.

The Bali initiatives are part of the Triple Helix Project, which will bring together academia, government and industry to develop Bali’s cattle industry.

A memorandum of understanding for the Triple Helix Project has been signed by CQU, Ganesha University, the provincial government of Bali, BAPPENAS (Ministry for Planning and Development) and TIQ. TIQ’s role will be to introduce Queensland industry capability to the project.

With a burgeoning middle class right on Australia’s doorstep, Indonesia is identified as a major growth market for Queensland exporters in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

March 2020

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Torres Straits Seafood snaps up HK lobster deal

Amid the export turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, one Far North Queensland seafood company has found a new market with help from TIQ.

Amid the export turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, one Far North Queensland seafood company has found a new market with help from TIQ.

Thursday Island business Torres Straits Seafood has also shown that adaptability and ingenuity are vital to long-term export success.

The company recently repurposed its live lobster facility in Cairns to supply lobster tails to a new supermarket client in Hong Kong, after TIQ connected the two.

Torres Straits Seafood manager Sonia Einersen said the company had been hit hard after exports to mainland China were suspended in January.

‘We’ve basically been shut since this outbreak began, so this deal was a glimmer of hope and we’re hoping that it will be something that continues,’ Ms Einersen said.

‘TIQ put us in contact with a company in Hong Kong that was looking for individually packed lobster tails to go into a supermarket chain.

‘Individually packed product was not something that we’d done before, so we had to find a quick solution to be able to do that.’

Demand for premium imported seafood in China collapsed on the eve of Chinese New Year 2020 – traditionally a peak demand period – as the COVID-19 outbreak forced China into lockdown.

Ms Einersen said filling the order was a new challenge for the company, but one they took on with determination.

‘Lobster tails have spikes on the underside of the tail so if we tried to vacuum seal just the tails, we would end up with holes in the bag,’ she said.

‘We sourced a special food-grade board plus heavier plastic bags and borrowed a vacuum-bag machine to pack about 540 lobster tails in a day.

‘Eventually we found a way to streamline the process so the next time we should be able to be able to do it in a few hours instead of it taking us all day!’

Ms Einersen said the company had now applied for a government grant to purchase their own vacuum-pack machine to fill future orders.

TIQ’s Acting CEO Richard Watson said Torres Straits Seafood’s new deal was a great example of how TIQ could help Queensland exporters.

‘We’re thrilled that one of our food and ag advisors has been able to connect a regional Queensland exporter with a new client in a major market like Hong Kong,’ Mr Watson said.

‘This is the kind of expert insight and networks our global team can offer.

‘It’s never been more important for TIQ to be supporting Queensland exporters on a number of levels as they face the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Ms Einersen said she was extremely grateful to TIQ for reaching out to Torres Straits Seafood and for their support.

‘If we can keep exporting lobster tails to this new customer, we have some other ideas for more value-added products, whether it be fish or something else,’ she said.

Torres Straits Seafood is no stranger to snapping up new opportunities.

‘Lobster has a fairly significant closure during the season – there’s a 4-month break where we used to have little to no income,’ Ms Einersen said.

‘When existing customers started asking if we could export coral trout, we decided to diversify and add fish to our exports, which we’ve now been doing successfully for a couple of years.’

Torres Straits Seafood has been exporting live lobster to China since the early 1990s and expanded into live coral trout in 2017.

The company buys from fishing boats operating in the Torres Strait and in waters from Cooktown to Mackay, exporting its product from Cairns.

The exported lobster tails went on sale in the Sogo Department Store supermarket in Hong Kong.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

You can learn more about the support available to exporters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on our TIQ industry recovery package page.

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Queensland on show at world hydrogen summit

TIQ represented Queensland alongside other global hydrogen leaders at the World Hydrogen Fuels Summit in Amsterdam this month.

TIQ represented Queensland alongside other global hydrogen leaders at the World Hydrogen Fuels Summit in Amsterdam this month.

The Amsterdam summit brought together more than 100 senior government and industry leaders from around the world with 30 expert speakers and 15 supporting associations, all of whom shared their advances in sustainable hydrogen projects and technology.

Hydrogen leaves only water when burned, presenting great potential as a clean fuel. However, it 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.

Queensland is an Australian leader in green hydrogen, with a hydrogen industry strategy and a number of research and pilot projects underway in conjunction with international partners.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe Linda Apelt attended the Amsterdam summit and shared Queensland’s hydrogen prospectus with a number of potential investors.

Ms Apelt said Queensland was well positioned to take an international role in renewable hydrogen, with excellent access to solar power and biofuels and projects exploring both production and logistics.

‘Worldwide, 2 key developments have driven hydrogen growth in recent years,’ she said.

‘The cost of hydrogen supply from renewables is continuing to fall, while the urgency of greenhouse gas mitigation has increased, and many countries have begun to take action to decarbonise their economies.

‘Here in Europe, hydrogen production will not meet demand and significant imports will be sought from countries that can efficiently produce and export green hydrogen.

‘Our focus in Queensland is now on technology deployment, reducing the cost of electrolysers required as a part of production, and further developing the necessary supply-chain logistics for export.’

Ms Apelt said the Queensland opportunities were well received in Amsterdam, and the next step would be to coordinate a videoconference between Queensland researchers and UK and European stakeholders from hydrogen and fuel-cell industry bodies.

The World Hydrogen Fuels Summit was held at the Movenpick Hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from 10 to 11 March.

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

TIQ has also published an international market report on Opportunities for Queensland business in Japan’s hydrogen economy.

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Queensland’s Ozzi Kleen on COVID-19 frontline in China

A wastewater treatment plant provided by Queensland company Ozzi Kleen is helping a Chinese hospital disinfect its wastewater to limit the spread of COVID-19.

A wastewater treatment plant provided by Queensland company Ozzi Kleen is helping a Chinese hospital disinfect its wastewater to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Sunshine Coast-based Ozzi Kleen’s Containerised Transportable Wastewater Treatment Plant was recently installed at the Suqian Infectious Disease Hospital, approximately 700km north-east of Wuhan.

Ozzi Kleen’s plant is providing an extra disinfection process to remove the risk of the virus leaving the hospital via liquid waste streams.

TIQ Acting CEO Richard Watson said Ozzi Kleen’s efforts were inspiring.

‘Ozzi Kleen’s ability to provide practical solutions so quickly is a great example of the ingenuity and flexibility of Queensland manufacturers,’ Mr Watson said.

‘Queenslanders take pride in looking out for their friends in times of need and Ozzi Kleen’s efforts to help Suqian City Infectious Disease Hospital showcases that to the world.’

Ozzi Kleen Production Manager David Blee said the business was humbled to be able to help people in China during this difficult time.

‘We have been going back and forth to China for a while now and have built a strong relationship with a great group of Chinese people,’ Mr Blee said.

‘We have great empathy for their situation and that’s why we went the extra mile to install this system quickly.’

Ozzi Kleen specialises in sewerage treatment systems, from underground residential units to fully relocatable commercial systems for remote locations such as workers camps at mines.

Their Containerised Transportable Wastewater Treatment Plants are ‘plug and play’ systems, built within shipping containers for maximum portability, that require minimal setup.

This simplicity meant Ozzi Kleen was able to guide a local Chinese team through the installation process remotely via WeChat with the help of joint venture partner Kieren Zhou as a translator.

Mr Blee noted that remotely installing such a large system under lockdown conditions was challenging.

‘When you’re doing the installation via videocall on a mobile phone you don’t have any peripheral vision, so can’t see everything that’s going on,’ he said.

‘Additionally, all the shops were shut which meant that if what we needed wasn’t already on site, there was no chance of getting it.

Ozzi Kleen began exporting to China under a $9 billion China Ministry for Environment program.

The program aims to reduce wastewater impacts on farmlands, channels and the underground water table in rural areas without adequate sewerage treatment processes.

An initial system was shipped to China in late December but had not yet been installed when the COVID-19 outbreak started.

Mr Blee said the system was reconfigured slightly to deal with the infectious waste at the specialist hospital, which was last used during the SARS outbreak 17 years ago.

‘Our Containerised Transportable Wastewater Treatment Plant utilises an active naturally occurring bacteria to treat and clarify the water before chlorinating the water ready for release to the environment.

‘This is different to many of the systems currently in use in China which use membranes to clean the water.’

Looking ahead, Mr Blee said Ozzi Kleen is optimistic it can finalise a ‘manufacture under licence’ agreement for their containerised systems with the Chinese Government.

‘We had the Chinese Government go out and look at the system in Suqian last week,’ he said.

‘They have been very willing to embrace the technology and the systems.

‘They’re very happy with its performance and are now looking at having us assist with other projects.’

The government is planning to move the system in place at Suqian Infectious Disease Hospital to a larger hospital shortly.

TIQ has worked with Ozzi Kleen for several years, previously helping to facilitate their successful market entry into Indonesia and Middle East.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for China Julie-Anne Nichols said China and Queensland had built a strong, collaborative relationship over many decades of engagement and exchanges.

‘We are standing by each other during these challenging times to help each other out in areas that really matter and count,’ Ms Nichols said.

‘Ozzi Kleen’s partnership with China couldn’t be a better example of this symbiotic relationship in action.

‘TIQ’s team in China is working with Queensland exporters and their partners in China to support our continued commercial engagement and support businesses build resilience and innovative approaches together during this global crisis.’

China is one of 12 markets in which TIQ promotes Queensland trade and investment around the world.