It is a busy but comprehensive schedule for Gunnedah delegates embarking on a trade mission to China in March.
In an itinerary released this week, it is proposed delegates from council, local business and industry will visit a brewery, clothing manufacturer and property developer, abattoir and food processing facility during a near two-week stay. Also listed for inspection, is industrial manufacturer Donghong Pipe Industry, whose company profile boasts as among the top 10 biggest plastic piping manufacturers in China.
Delegates will also attend seminars hosted by Chinese government officials and prospective business partners, visiting Qufu, Shanghai, Ningbo and Guangzhou cities during the visit which is supported by Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce.
Developing direct trade ties with the Asian market is one of the main goals of local representatives, including livestock and property agent Sam Plevey.
“If consumers have direct contact with growers and producers, it can only be a good thing,” Mr Plevey said.
Grain and cotton grower Andrew Watson from Boggabri, is also on the touring party. His main motivation is the viability of towns in the district, should mining move on.
“I want Gunnedah to survive, help ensure its economic viability in the future,” Mr Watson said.
He is also “fairly open” to export potential for his own business and the investment possibility of a locally-based ethanol plant for sorghum production.
“If you don’t have a go, you’ll never know,” he said.
Carroll Cotton Co owner Scott Davies said the trade mission offered unprecedented opportunity to develop relationships with key importers.
“We believe there is an ongoing trend towards transparency and traceability of commodities and we want to showcase our growers products to prospective end-users,” Mr Davies said.
“This trip is an opportunity for Carroll Cotton Co to facilitate the development of productive relationships between China and our shire.”
Council resolved at its February ordinary meeting on Wednesday to allocate $18,000 in travel and accommodation costs for three council representatives to attend – Mayor Jamie Chaffey, General Manager Eric Groth and Director of Planning, Andrew Johns, but industry representatives will cover their own costs.
Councillor Gae Swain said: “Looking at the itinerary the delegates will be very busy.”
On announcement of the trade mission late last year, Cr Chaffey said Gunnedah had “huge investment potential” with our Asian neighbour, with the opportunity for more jobs and more diverse economy.
The trade mission follows a Gunnedah visit by a seven-strong Chinese delegation in May last year.