Tasmania-US relationship strong in wake of opportunities in Asia
Posted : Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The opportunities that arise with the emergence of the Asian
century won't come at the expense of Tasmania's relationship with
the US, Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings told a
CEDA audience in Hobart at Tasmania's State of the State forum.
She said the wealth and opportunities created from Asia is
something we welcome and will impact both the Tasmanian and US
economies in the coming decades.
She said both the US and Tasmania recognise the need to make the
most of the opportunities created by success in Asia.
"The problems and challenges we (US and Tasmania) face are not
worlds apart. Issues like the continuing impact of the GFC, the
state of the economy and unemployment are all much of the same
challenges that are being faced in the US and Tasmania," she
Ms Giddings believes there are great opportunities to maintain
and expand strategic and economic ties with the US.
"Despite the increasing economic significance of the Asian
region, Tasmania's international merchandise exports to the US have
increased by 51 per cent over the last five years," she said.
"Around 13 per cent of international visitors to Tasmania in
2011-12 came from the US and the 18,700 Americans who came to our
shores were the most from any single country."
She told attendees Tasmania has the opportunity to utilise its
"One key advantage is water. Tasmania makes up just one per cent
of Australia's land mass but we have 12 per cent of its fresh
water," she said.
This will allow us to transform the farming landscape and invest
in our rural industries with the aim to double dairy production,
double the size of the aquaculture industry, and quadruple our wine
sector, she said.
Ms Giddings also said the National Broadband Network (NBN) would
open opportunities with the US IT industry and build relationships
with companies such as Apple, Google and IBM.
US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L Bleich
emphasised the NBN would create a special chance for the US to
partner with Tasmania and establish it as a "living laboratory",
like the Silicon Valley in Northern California, in innovative,
sustainable, social, environmental and economic management.
Mr Bleich said the US-Tasmanian economic relationship would be
enhanced by US promotion of green and clean technology.
"We both will benefit from trade and investment with each other
to advance commitment to wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass
energy," he said.
"We are investing in ways to develop and produce food to
increase harvests in this region, to eliminate waste, power
agriculture and essentially to do what Tasmania is doing.
"These technologies, we hope, will help Tasmania achieve its
full-time goal and its capacity to become one of Asia's great food
Mr Bleich said he is looking to bring US artists to Tasmania by
supporting Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and MONA's
music festival by providing additional support to the Ten days
on the island festival - Tasmania's international arts
"We are also working with the City of Hobart to explore the
potential of a sister city relationship with a city in the US. This
type of relationship can really bear great benefits," he said.
Like Ms Giddings, Mr Bleich highlighted both the US and
Australia has an enormous stake in China's economic development and
the economic development of Asia.
He said an important element of the Australia-US economic
relationship was not merely gross trade but also investment and
types of trade.
"When it comes to investment, Australia's greatest friend and
benefactor is the US," he said.
"US direct investment in Australia has more than doubled from
2006-11 from $67 billion to $136 billion, and according to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the total bilateral
investment was almost $1 trillion in 2010 - including direct and
indirect portfolio investment."
Our investment, trade and people to people relationship mean
Australia remains a top economic partner. There is no better friend
in the world than Australia, he said.
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