Investing in friendship with China
WHAT do the Southern Downs and a city of three million people in the heart of China have in common?
The answer is quite a lot, and we’re set to get to know each other better after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Brisbane last week.
Mayor Ron Bellingham did the honours at Parliament House along with Mayor Yang Shuping of Sanmenxia City, a booming centre of industry and agriculture in the historic province of Henan.
The MOU sets out what Cr Bellingham has described as an “interest by both councils to work closely together in the development of mutual trade and investment”.
Mayor Yang was accompanied on his trip to Australia by a trade delegation of 30 Sanmenxia business leaders, including an industrialist on the scout for a 2000- hectare managed grazing and cropping property.
Cr Bellingham said it was “a great compliment to our region” that the Sanmenxia (pronounced San-men-sha) delegation had chosen the Southern Downs as their key area for agricultural and food processing investment in Australia.
“We became aware there was a delegation coming to Australia and to the best of my knowledge we were the only Queensland council to put in a submission with a view to holding talks,” the mayor said.
“There is some significant money available in China for overseas investment and we felt this was too good an opportunity to miss.
“One area is of opportunity for us is meat and grain exports – as China becomes more affluent their food demands are changing and we are keen to look at the potential benefits in this regard for local producers.”
Cr Bellingham also hinted that he had mentioned to the Chinese visitors there was “an abattoir for sale”, a reference to the Killarney Abattoir which went into voluntary administration last week.
He stressed the agreement with Sanmenxia was not a Sister City agreement and was focussed on investment.
Council’s economic development officer John Randall said initial discussions with the Sanmenxia delegation had indicated “a strong interest in direct investment in purchasing high-yielding managed agricultural properties in our region.”
Sanmenxia is well-known for its agriculture including apples, small crops, wines and meat processing and also has a strong mining and manufacturing base and is the third-largest gold producer in China, with investors understood to be looking keenly at the central Queensland mining sector.
Henan province is considered the core of ancient China, centred on the Yellow River and the birthplace of the Chinese nation. For more information contact John Randall on 4661 7332.