The Abacus

Shandong-South Australia Cooperation and Development Forum - Highlights

By: ACBC SA
22-06-2015

The Australia China Business Council SA Branch was heavily involved in the design, preparation and launch of South Australia’s strategy for engagement with China.  A foundation plank in that strategy was elevating South Australia’s engagement with Shandong through the Shandong South Australia Cooperation and Development Forum.

250 South Australian delegates, representing industry, government and institutions, gathered in Jinan (Shandong's capital) on Sunday 24 May for the official pre-briefing for the 2nd Shandong South Australia Cooperation and Development Forum to be held on 25 May.
 
A Welcome Dinner was hosted by the Shandong Party Secretary and Governor and attended by VIP SA delegates including Australian Ambassador to China, Frances Adamson.  The elaborate dinner signified the importance placed by Shandong’s two most senior officials on the bilateral relationship with South Australia. 
 
On Monday 25 May the 2nd Shandong South Australian Cooperation and Development Forum was attended by 500 representatives of government, business and institutions from Shandong.  The Governor of Shandong and the Premier of South Australia opened the Forum with speeches reflecting on the strength of the relationship that had been developed over the 29 years of the sister state / province relationship.  They called for action on greater business ties to meet the needs of Shandong and SA to grow and ensure continuing prosperity for their respective peoples. 
 
Sixteen Memoranda of Understanding across a range of industries foreshadowing strategic cooperation, project development, investment and trade were executed by the South Australian and Shandong counterparts in the presence of the dignitaries.
 
One of those was the historic Shandong-SA Local Government Economic Development Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding signed by the SD Bureau of Commerce and the SA Department of State Development as the key authorities for economic development within SD and SA respectively.  The MoU establishes a platform linking South Australia's 63 Councils with Shandong's 17 Prefectures on economic development and support for SME trade and investment activity.
 
Delegates then broke off into the 8 Business Stream roundtables to pursue more specific discussions around different industry sectors.
 
That evening the delegates participated in the Shandong South Australian Cooperation and Development Forum Gala Dinner and Cultural Performance.  The SA Premier and the Governor of Shandong spoke about the significant strides that had been made in the course of the dialogues during the day.
 
On Wednesday all delegates assembled in preparation for the Leadership Bilateral between the Premier of South Australia and the Lord Mayor of Adelaide with their counterparts, the Party Secretary and Mayor of Qingdao respectively. 
 
The Qingdao South Australia Cooperation and Development Forum was held mid-morning and attended by over 200 local Qingdao businesses together with the South Australian delegation.  The event was opened by the Party Secretary of Qingdao.  Following the presentations by the respective dignitaries, five Memoranda of Understanding were signed between Qingdao and South Australian counterparts.  The Qingdao investment and trade seminar then followed with presentations from 30 South Australian businesses to the 200 assembled prospective Qingdao investors. 
 
During the mission, delegates participated in a range of site visits, including:
 

  • Haier Innovation Centre 
  • Qingdao Kangda Group (property development and agribusiness)
  • Qingdao Miaofu Brewery – rice wine brewery
  • Qingdao Planning Centre and city tour
  • Qingdao Port Bonded area

 
On the final evening, ACBC organised a delegate debriefing dinner providing an opportunity for delegates to mix and reflect upon the key learnings from what had been a very busy couple of days in Shandong Province.
 
Throughout the mission, the reception by the Shandong Government highlighted the desire for meaningful, continued cooperation between Shandong and South Australia in particular the aspirations of both sides for greater economic activity and action - particularly in light of the conditions presented by the China Australia Free Trade Agreement, Shandong’s rapidly growing middle class and the declining value of the Australian dollar against the Renminbi. 

Congratulations to the Premier, Jay Weatherill, and the SA Government team on leading such an ambitious program that made such a positive statement about the commitment to the bilateral relationship with Shandong!

@AusChinaBC

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