Tom Calder and Kate Jones

The Honourable Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Ministerial Champion for International Education, and Tom Calder, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – ASEAN, at the official opening of TIQ’s expanded Singapore premises.

An expanded TIQ office has opened in Singapore, strengthening Queensland’s trade presence in the strategically important ASEAN region.

With larger premises and 5 specialist staff including a new Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for ASEAN, the expanded office provides a gateway to the 10 ASEAN member nations.

The new premises were officially opened on 23 November by Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Ministerial Champion for International Education Kate Jones, who was in Singapore on the first leg of a 7-day trade mission to Singapore and India.

‘ASEAN countries are Queensland’s fifth-largest export market for merchandise,’ she said.

‘This is a huge market and it’s only growing in the future.

‘Singapore is the epicentre of new opportunity in this region – that’s why it’s so important that we have a strong presence here.’

Ms Jones said Queensland’s merchandise exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region were valued at $4.8 billion in 2017–18.

The new Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for ASEAN Tom Calder said export opportunities in the ASEAN region were as varied as the ASEAN nations themselves.

‘ASEAN has 10 member nations – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and Myanmar – which are very diverse,’ he said.

‘For example, you have globally connected economies like Singapore, which is a regional investment and operational hub, and then an economy like Cambodia, which is continuing its economic development from a much earlier stage.

‘However, both markets are opportunities in their own right, and economies like Cambodia might even offer better prospects in some sectors as they try to “leapfrog” into adopting new technologies in areas such as FinTech, rather than following the same progression as other economies.’

Mr Calder said some sectors offered opportunities right across the ASEAN region.

‘Smart Cities is an area where Singapore appears to currently be taking the lead on behalf of ASEAN and attempting to diffuse some expertise regionally, and I hope this is an area where we can connect them with Queensland expertise.

‘Another logical area would be vocational education and training, given nearly all ASEAN economies are looking to develop a skilled workforce to underpin industry attraction and development.’

Queensland sold more than $620 million worth of goods to Singapore last financial year, making it the state’s 16th largest goods export market.

As a global financial centre and tech-hub, Singapore also presents major opportunities to attract investment into the growing Queensland knowledge economy.

TIQ’s Singapore office was expanded as an initiative under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Mr Calder took up the role of commissioner earlier this year.