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UK keen to grow ties
Townsville Bulletin, Townsville  by Natasha Emeck
23 Apr 2024
General News - Page 4 - 385 words - ID 2063072004 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 625.00cm2

More investment and trade on consul general's agenda

The UK consul general has touched down in Townsville to talk about unlocking new trade and investment opportunities, with a focus on agriculture and technology.

Townsville led the way in capitalising on the UK-Australia free trade agreement when the first shipment of about $19m worth of sugar left the city's port for Britain last September.

UK consul general Richard Cowin said London-based company Tate and Lyle had been "very quick to snap up" sugar exports from North Queensland when tariffs were removed last year.

More potential investment and trade opportunities were on the agenda when he met with Townsville Mayor Troy Thompson and Townsville Enterprise boss Claudia Brumme-Smith during a visit on Monday.

Ms Brumme-Smith said $500m worth of metals was already crossing Townsville's wharves and entering the UK, but this new trade agreement was creating new opportunities.

"For example, the tarifffree imports of sugar and beef are really important for us, as we are the largest sugargrowing region in the country and also the second largest exporter of live cattle," she said.

"We know that defence investment is coming our way and, in return, going into Rolls Royce and other companies in the UK." Mr Cowin pointed out opportunities in the "agro-tech space" in particular that he thought could benefit North Queensland.

"The UK and Australia, we have shared challenges . whether that be things like labour challenges and some of the automation that we can bring around that," he said.

"We've got some great British businesses coming into Queensland with robotic fruit picking.

"We've got businesses looking at turning banana waste into energy and usable products in the drink industry.

There's truly lots that we can work together on." Mr Thompson said during the meeting they also touched on issues like the city's housing crisis and the build-to-rent scheme the UK government rolled out to increase housing supply.

"We encourage the consul general to come more often because I think the more we work together, the better we grow," he said. "So our city is always open to the UK." "There's truly lots that we can work together on.

Richard Cowin UK consul general

Caption Text:
UK consul general Richard Cowin (middle) with Townsville Enterprise boss Claudia Brumme-Smith and Townsville Mayor Troy Thompson. Picture: Natasha Emeck

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