Tom Calder

A festive-season chat with Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – ASEAN, Tom Calder

How is the festive season celebrated in Singapore, where your office is based?
Like most things in Singapore, it’s celebrated with shopping and eating (albeit with a Christmas theme). Singapore celebrates Christmas with gusto, and major precincts including Orchard Road and Gardens by the Bay have month-long Christmas-themed activities. The Christmas lights along Orchard Road change every year and extend for 3.5km, while Gardens by the Bay creates a huge winter theme park complete with fake snow for the kids.

What were some standout achievements for TIQ ASEAN in 2019?
Supporting a number of key ASEAN food and beverage buyers to get down to Queensland, some for the very first time. They were blown away by the quality of the produce they saw (and ate), and this will translate into greater export sales for our producers.

A personal highlight was tasting the first shipment of Bargara Beer in Singapore. Bargara is the only Queensland beer in the market we know of and they are growing their sales volumes.

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
Expanding TIQ’s presence in, and engagement with, Vietnam. Vietnam is a market of increasing importance for Queensland and we need to engage in a more committed fashion.

Any new year’s message you’d like to share with Queensland exporters?
Don’t fly over ASEAN en route to other markets in North Asia and Europe. They are our closest neighbours and engagement is underdone to this point in time. The region will expand rapidly over the next 10–15 years and there is strong demand for quality and innovative goods and services. As with any market, it will be a slow burn, but now is the time to contact TIQ ASEAN and start making connections and exploring the region.