Agent General says region primed for export markets

International Trade Central Coast & Hunter, Investment NSW representative, Sharon Foster; Business NSW Regional Director, Paula Martin;, NSW Agent General, Stephen Cartwright; Milestone Belanova CEO, Barbara Ketley; and Acting Director Central Coast & Hunter Regional NSW, Scott Goold

More than 50 business leaders from all over the Central Coast heard about new trade opportunities opening up overseas when newly-announced NSW Agent General, Stephen Cartwright, visited the region on November 15.

At a business luncheon hosted by Business NSW Central Coast, Cartwright outlined business opportunities in the UK, Europe and Israel.

Cartwright told business leaders that the NSW Government was boosting its capability to develop business trade relationships in Australia and in key offshore markets to showcase to the world our innovation.

“A new FTA between Australia and the UK opens up new and important trade opportunities for Central Coast businesses so the timing for a senior appointment like the NSW Agent General and supporting team both in NSW and in the UK will help our local business take their innovations to a market of over 450 million consumers,” Business NSW Regional Director Paula Martin said.

“The Central Coast is already a successful exporting region, punching above the state average with nine per cent of our economy dedicated to exports.

“Our strengths in advanced manufacturing and food production make the Central Coast an attractive region for trade as we produce clean, green and innovative products.

“We already export into many Asian nations, so expanding our reach through a supported network by NSW Government into the UK and beyond will benefit our local business and create more jobs.

“It was also encouraging to see at the business luncheon that the Central Coast is becoming an active player in the export of professional services.

“There were a number of companies specialising in ICT services and industrial design that are experiencing demand from nations within Europe and the UK as these countries scour the globe for innovative and efficient solutions to health care solutions, efficient building design and clean tech.

“As we transition into a post pandemic recovery mode, the Central Coast is primed to be a regional leader in exports.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said as a former CEO of the NSW Business Chamber, Cartwright has first-hand knowledge of the benefits that can be delivered to small and medium businesses throughout the regions, including on the Central Coast.

On his first trip to the region since being announced NSW Agent General for the UK and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe and Israel, Cartwright visited local businesses and looked at export opportunities.

“When I was the CEO of Business NSW, I was often invited to speak at business events throughout the state about growing businesses and creating more job opportunities in rural and regional NSW,” he said.

“As a kid from regional NSW, this is something that I am very passionate about.

“There’s no question that drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19 have brought many regional businesses to their knees.

“But if there is a silver lining, it’s the bounce back effect after lockdowns, the bumper crops this season and the substantial investment by the NSW Government in supporting and expanding our international export capabilities.”

NSW is now represented in 10 countries; China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam, with another 11 other locations being finalised over the coming months, he said.

“This is a serious commitment to ‘boots on the ground’ in each important overseas market, promoting NSW businesses.”

Cartwright said NSW and the UK have a strong political and economic relationship, with room to grow under the imminent Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement and he would champion NSW businesses with importers, buyers, distributors and investors across the UK.

Export opportunities included wine and food products such as beef, sheep and dairy.

He said a MoU signed recently between Star Scientific Limited and Central Coast Industry Connect will create a Hydrogen Food Cluster in the region – a major step forward.

He had also gathered insights from Coast businesses 4ID Solutions, One Blink and Performance Engineering to support their growth into new export markets.

Terry Collins

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