Tasmania accused of favouring China ahead of trade visit
The Tasmanian Greens have accused the State Government of ignoring key Asian trading partners in favour of China ahead of another government trade delegation.
This week Premier Will Hodgman will head Tasmania’s fourth trade delegation to China in two years.
Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor said the move had the potential to impact on relations with other Asian countries.
“We risk ignoring or even offending some of our other very significant partners in the Asian region,” she said.
She questioned why a delegation had not been sent to Taiwan, where she says Tasmania exported $322 million worth of goods last financial year, while $488 million worth of exports went to China.
“Four export trade delegations to China in two years — not a single trade delegation to Taiwan by the state of Tasmania in more than a decade,” she said.
“We are concerned that the Premier and the Liberals are putting all of our export eggs into one basket.”
Tasmania has to stay proactive on China: Hodgman
Mr Hodgman hit back at the claim, saying the mission would help increase investment in Tasmania.
He said the visit to China would help ensure tourism and trade opportunities continued to head Tasmania’s way.
“People shouldn’t be critical of it, they should recognise that it is a wonderful opportunity that we’ve got,” he said.
“We cannot simply sit back now and expect things to happen; we’ve got to keep working on it.”
Mr Hodgman said other countries were also on Tasmania’s radar, with a stop in Singapore during this week’s trip and a trade delegation to India planned for later this year.