The Naracoorte Lucindale and Robe Councils are exploring a sister city relationship with Tai’an as a key step to opening up opportunities for mutually beneficial trade relationships, particularly in the area of tourism.
Six delegates from Tai’an recently visited Naracoorte.
The visit is a direct result of the Limestone Coast Councils’ support of the State Government trade missions to Shandong Province in China.
Tai’an is located in the middle of China’s Shandong Province.
Hosts, Mayor Vickery from the Naracoorte Lucindale Council and Mayor Peter Riseley from the District Council of Robe, spent the day with the delegates visiting Bool Lagoon, the Naracoorte Caves, the Wrattonbully Wine Region and MiniJumbuk.
Unfortunately, time constraints did not allow the delegation to visit Robe.
However, the delegates were treated to a dinner of local produce provided by Robe’s Gather Food and Wine.
The group consisted of the Vice Mayor of the Tai’an Municipal People’s Government, Director of Tai’an Foreign Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, Vice Director of Tai’an Human Resource and Social Security Bureau, Director of the Personnel and Labor Bureau of Tai’an High-tech Development Zone and representatives from the Feichen and Xintai Cities.
Tai’an has a population of 5.5887 million and like Naracoorte, it has a world heritage listed site, Mount Tai.
Mount Tai is the most famous sacred mountain of China, with exceptional historic, cultural, aesthetic and scientific value.
“Businesses in China are looking for connections in the Limestone Coast region. Delegations such as the Tai’an group creates a connection with Chinese businesses to the region, they are then more likely to consider investment and import opportunities”, Mayor Erika Vickery said.
“A prerequisite of doing business with the Chinese is that you have to invest time in building relationships. A large part of how Chinese conduct business is based on trust and Mayors in China are a conduit for business. The inter mayoral relationship is particularly important in China as is the maintenance and continuation of relationship building.
“As Chinese have a strong connection with local government, the support of local government is critical to the success of trade relationships. China values local government and its relationship with local businesses”.
Mayor Peter Riseley said: “The Robe district with a population of only 1500 residents district wide would struggle to form a sister city relationship on its own isolating Robe’s economic development potential from the many benefits identified in the statements from Mayor Vickery.
“On behalf of the District Council of Robe I would like to thank and acknowledge the friendship and inclusiveness of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council in inviting Robe to partner in this most important initiative.
“The Limestone Coast is the major beneficiary of International visitors with 45,000 visitors last year.
“Increasingly the Limestone Coast is becoming a favoured destination for Chinese visitors with many choosing the Adelaide Melbourne touring route targeting the Limestone Coast as a must see. The combination of the Naracoorte world heritage caves, Robe’s significant Chinese heritage, rock lobster and premium food and wines all combine to entice the Chinese visitor.”
Participation in these delegations supports the councils’ economic development strategy.
China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, valued at more than A$155 billion in 2016. South Australia’s total two-way trade with China in 2015-16 was in excess of $3.9 billion.