Hi Simon, what’s your role at TIQ?

Simon Says

Simon Says: Simon Fischer, Principal Trade and Investment Officer, TIQ

As Principal Trade and Investment Officer in the Corporate Services team I investigate and advise on global opportunities for Queensland businesses.

Doing that successfully depends on having access to timely information and data on Queensland’s industry strengths and trade and investment performance, and the international business characteristics and dynamics of our major trading partners.

What sort of picture is emerging of Queensland exports in 2017?

Queensland’s exports in 2017 have been dominated by resource exports, largely coal and gas, which have been buoyed by higher prices and increased production.

Our agricultural exports are performing strongly as rising demand from Asia creates opportunities for producers of Queensland horticulture and animal products, continuing to build on our strong reputation as a reliable supplier of safe, high-quality food.

International education and training exports are our flagship service export right now, with the number of international enrolments rising almost 12% in the year to end September 2017.

What have you been most surprised about in the figures over the past year?

Queensland’s financial services exports, valued at $877 million in 2016–17, have risen strongly in recent years to be Queensland’s third-largest service export after international tourism and education.

According to the Financial Services Council, Australia has the world’s fourth-largest pool of managed funds and one of the best-regarded pension systems in the world and well-established expertise in financial services.

Queensland is building on Australia’s strong reputation in this sector and taking advantage of the massive growth of the Asian middle class, which is seeking a range of offshore financial services, to offer a niche alternative to Sydney’s financial houses.

It’s Christmas and we immediately think of seafood, mangoes and a cold drink — how are Queensland’s seasonal crops shaping up for the silly season?

Queensland horticulture exports have been one of our major success stories of the past few years — in the year to end September 2017 the value of Queensland fruit and vegetable exports exceeded $2 billion.

Seafood is another major Queensland food export — Queensland crabs and prawns alone are a $100 million export industry, with Hong Kong, Japan and China representing the major share of our export destinations.

Queensland exports of alcoholic beverages doubled to $8.6 million in 2016–17: Queensland wines are making a splash in China, with export values rising 25% in 2016–17, while Queensland rum sales to international aircraft and ships provisioning at Queensland ports are thriving.

We’ve had a big push for technology in Queensland with the launch of Myriad innovation festival and Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. What’s been a standout of this sector in Queensland?

Technology advancements contribute to increased productivity across our industries and lift our global competitiveness.

There’s no doubt technology is a driver of exports. According to the DHL Export Barometer 2017, 48% of exporters use social media channels to attract export orders, and 78% of exporters generate orders from online channels.

Queensland is developing its expertise in health technology, as demonstrated by the recent TIQ-led aged care mission to China (see our Q&A with Principal Trade and Investment Officer, Alita Singer of the Silver mission) A number of inquiries have resulted from this mission.

Queensland is also developing its agricultural technology capability. TIQ helped connect Toowoomba-based TTQ, who were looking to establish local US manufacturing to support business, with the Cotton Industry Association and Texas A&M AgriLife cotton specialists that supported their field trials and demonstrations. This has led to sales of cotton farming equipment (Scorpion Root Cutters and Trojan Mulchers) with cotton farmers in Texas.

What’s an interesting metric that a Queensland exporter should look into and follow?

The World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report is a handy resource on the state of international business.

It explores the ease and challenges of doing business across 190 countries and is used as a barometer of business improvements and challenges among our major trading partners, especially emerging markets.

Simon, you have access to a ton of trade data ranging from federal government figures to the State Library of Queensland resources — how can you help Queensland businesses? And how can they get in touch?

With such a wealth of information available I’ve built up a collection of resources that TIQ uses to inform our policy options and assist our clients.

We have a number of initiatives underway within Advancing Trade and Investment — Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–22 which are targeted at addressing market opportunities and giving SMEs premium market intelligence and advice.

We welcome enquiries from Queensland businesses who want to find out more.

What are you most excited about in the trade space for 2018?

TIQ is involved in a number of exciting trade development activities in 2018 which we expect will contribute to improved export performances, and key events like the Commonwealth Games 2018 and Beef Australia 2018 will generate hundreds of potential business matches.

Some sectors of the economy are growing strongly and export confidence is rising; according to the DHL Export Barometer 2017, 67% of Australian exporters expect sales to increase over the next year.

I look forward to keeping our Queensland business community posted on these exciting developments through 2018.

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