REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Councillors can see enormous benefit being derived from participating in the Premier's Super Trade Mission to China.
Council is being represented in China by mayor Cr Wayne Rice and Mr Clyde Humphries as his personal assistant.
During the next few days, Cr Rice and Mr Humphries will be visiting Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai.
Shire chief executive officer, Justine Linley, said this was a great opportunity for the shire.
"It is a fantastic opportunity to market our shire to the people of China, with a view to attracting future investment," Mrs Linley said.
"As Victoria's largest trading partner, China represents significant opportunities for the state's economy. China is a major source of investment, migration and knowledge and two-way trade in goods and services continues to rise.
"This mission will focus on Victoria's lifestyle and liveability offering, including our world-class food and wine."
Mrs Linley said exporting businesses on average employ 18 percent more people and generate greater profits.
"Establishing strong, secure and trustworthy export relationships with international firms and governments is a critical feature of any economic development strategy," she said.
"Developing the export capacity of businesses within Northern Grampians Shire is a part of each of the industry sector plans that form the Northern Grampians Economic Development and Tourism Strategies."
The intended outcomes of council's participation are:
Learn: Council hopes to learn what interests the Chinese market or investor. Do the products produced in our shire (meat, wine, grains, tourism, education) have applicability in this market? Do we need to work with our businesses to modify our products to suit the Chinese market and if we do what does this need to look like? We also hope to learn how to best interact to develop relationships that will lead to business deals.
Develop: We hope to develop our international literacy and to open up the shire to the possibility of having a stronger export focus. We would like to develop our role as a supportive intermediary for businesses located in the shire so as to encourage businesses to be involved in export, particularly into Asia.
Connect: We hope to connect with people in China who can help us to develop our international relationships and to connect with other organisations and businesses in the Grampians region and in Victoria to strengthen our ability to positively contribute to growth in exports from the state. This is of particular importance to developing relationships in tourism and in education and health.
Cr Karen Hyslop agreed that participation in the Super Trade Mission would benefit the shire enormously.
"I think this is a great opportunity for us to be involved," Cr Hyslop said.
"China is one of the leading economic countries in the world and I believe our shire has a lot to offer."
During the trip to China, Cr Rice and Mr Humphries will be visiting visit Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai. Trade discussions will be the key focus of the visit to Beijing.
Cr Rice said he looked forward to relaying back to the people of the Northern Grampians Shire and to his fellow councillors, his experiences following the trip.
"It will just be a great opportunity for us to get a foot in the door," he said.
"Some things may not come to fruition, but at least we are there, selling ourselves as a great investment opportunity and hopefully, we will see the benefits of that in the near future.
"At the very least, we will be pushing the message that we are open for business, we are open for investment."