Tasmania's virtues sold to China-Australia Chamber of Commerce Thu 20 September 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Download hi-res version Tasmania is committed to building lasting and meaningful relationships within the Asian region, the Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, told a meeting of business leaders today. Speaking at a meeting of the prestigious China-Australia Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Ms Giddings said Tasmania had a lot to offer in what has been described as the 'Asian Century'. Ms Giddings said in order to make the most of the Asian Century, it was important to identify what Tasmania could contribute to the region, not simply what it could gain. "My mindset is not about what Asian countries can do for Tasmania, but how we can work together for mutual gain," Ms Giddings said. "It is clear that while Tasmania can reap the benefits of the Asian century, we can also contribute a lot to the development of this region across a range of areas. "Tasmania is only a small state of 500,000 people but we have the cleanest air on the planet, pristine wilderness areas, high quality produce and world-class investment opportunities in agriculture, renewable energy and mining. Ms Giddings said alongside these significant investment and job-creating opportunities, Tasmania also has high value products, expertise and produce that can help support the growth of the Asian region. "During this trip we have already identified opportunities to share expertise and resources in Antarctic research and logistics. "There has been strong interest in the revolutionary Sense T technology being developed by the University of Tasmania and the CSIRO which has broad applications, particularly in improving productivity in agriculture. "Tasmania also has a depth of expertise in renewable energy and mining which can be shared with developing Asian nations. "And there is significant scope to increase our intake of international students along with the delivery of education programs directly to Asia." Ms Giddings said Tasmanian companies were already reaping the benefits of the Asian boom. "Tasmania's iconic bootmaker, Blundstone's, which exports its famous boots and other footwear around the world, has survived and prospered in an increasingly competitive global market because five years ago it moved much of its manufacturing to China. "Blundstone is still owned and based in Tasmania, as it has been since 1870, but without this partnership Blundstone today would simply not exist. "Last week I witnessed the signing of a share-sale agreement Between Guohua Energy and Hydro Tasmania to purchase a 75 per cent stake in the $395 million Musselroe Wind Farm. "With Tasmania's entire post-world war two industrialisation built off the back of hydro power, we are uniquely positioned to partner with China in its quest for sustainable growth." Ms Giddings said the Trade Delegation had been highly successful in forging relationships that will endure long into the future. "China and Hong Kong are already our largest export partners and there is significant scope to grow that relationship as the Asian middle class increases from 500 million to more than 3 billion over the next 20 years. "These are the future consumers for Tasmanian wines, dairy, tourism, education and other high quality services and products which is why we have described Asia as the jobs engine of the 21st century."