The Governments of Queensland and Western Australia will combine resources to pursue export, trade and investment opportunities in Asia - the fastest-growing economic region in the world.
Premiers Wayne Goss (Queensland) and Dr Carmen Lawrence (WA) in Perth today signed an historic strategic economic alliance under which the States will share resources and expertise to maximise the potential for increased trade and exports.
"Asia is the economic powerhouse of the world," Dr Lawrence said today.
"In the past 10 years WA's exports to the region have trebled to $9.8 billion and within five years we intend to double that again.
"Seventy per cent of all our exports go into Asia - and 40 per cent of all WA jobs are created by that trade."
Mr Goss said the strength of the Queensland and Western Australian economies meant they were better placed than any of the other States to capitalise on the tremendous economic potential of the Asian region.
"As the leading States in Australia, I believe we can work together to build exports and trade with Asia and provide the economic growth which will improve the quality of life for all Australians."
The Premiers signed a Memorandum of Understanding, on behalf of their Governments, at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre, against the backdrop of authentic Japanese tearooms constructed by Elka Furnishing Coy, a WA company exporting the tearooms to Japan.
The Premiers and key trade and economic ministers will oversee the new alliance.
"I will be meeting with Mr Goss, while he is in Perth, to discuss implementation of the objectives and to formalise the establishment of a steering committee," Dr Lawrence said.
"The committee will include key private sector representatives from both States in this trade thrust into Asia.
"I hope it is possible to have the inaugural meeting of the steering committee within weeks."
The Premiers said the strategic alliance would:
· promote Queensland and WA as key centres for Asian trade and investment;
· increase exports to Asia through a co-operative approach and by capitalising on each State's EcomparitivEiveEe vantages;
· target growing markets such as China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Indonesia.
The States would pursue these objectives by:
· developing a program to attract international, particularly Asian, investment into WA and Queensland;
· investigating opportunities for downstream processing of raw materials to add value to exports into Asia;
· investigating opportunities for technology transfer between WA and Queensland to encourage growth in value-adding exports to Asia;
· investigating the feasibility of co-operatively establishing centres for traded services and scientific and technological excellence;
· investigating the opportunities to jointly co-ordinate, support and assist public and private sector groups to compete more effectively on overseas project opportunities, particularly with respect to aid-funded programs;
· examining opportunities for a co-operative approach to the export into Asia of public sector traded services;
· facilitating communication between the States' private sector organisations with Asian trade interests.
"It is hoped that this new alliance will provide a natural catalyst to ensure business redoubles its efforts to promote, market and distribute its products and services into the Asian region," Dr Lawrence said.
"Clearly, the imperative for governments to is to start now in redoubling their efforts."