Western Australia was at the forefront of a national transition to a more Asian-oriented economy, Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
Opening the three-day `Into Asia' trade and investment convention, Dr Lawrence said Western Australia had positioned its economy to grow with the region.
"Already, 70 per cent of Western Australia's trade is into Asia, $10 billion of the State's annual exports go into Asia and 40 per cent of all jobs come from trade into Asia," Dr Lawrence said.
"We have carved out a place for ourselves in the region and we will continue to develop it further, particularly as Asian-Australians become increasingly involved in our trade initiatives."
Dr Lawrence said the State's aim was to combine natural and human resources to boost Western Australia's presence in Asia.
There were four key growth areas on which to concentrate - mining, oil and gas; food and agriculture; new materials and advanced ceramics; and travel and tourism.
The Premier said each of the four sectors had the potential to help diversify the State's economy.
· mining and petroleum services would strengthen the State's technology and service base;
· agricultural processing would develop manufacturing capabilities;
· new materials would enhance Western Australia's science and technology base; and
· tourism would promote the State's services sector.
Dr Lawrence said the Government would push ahead with its `Into Asia' strategy which included:
· a south-east Asian trade commissioner's office in Singapore;
· three additional trade managers in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore;
· State Government representation in China;
· the identification of strategic markets through the recently-appointed `Into Asia' Business Council;
· the promotion of language training and an understanding of Asian cultures and business practices; and
· additional assistance to export marketing.
"Western Australia can boost its presence in Asia by building on our reputation for quality and reliability and through vigorous marketing.
"We have the strategic industries, we have the services and we have the cultural framework and the location to become a major gateway into Asia," Dr Lawrence said.