Hodgman focus on business in China

ASIDE from a fleeting glance at Tiananmen Square out the window of a speeding bus, the Chinese leg of a week- long Asian trade mission was consumed by an intense schedule of meetings and official engagements, Premier Will Hodgman said yesterday.

Mr Hodgman said there had been little downtime since arriving in China late last week, but he was relishing the opportunity to talk up Tasmania in conversations with China's political and business heavyweights.

The Premier said he was keen to convey to his Chinese counterparts that Tasmania was open for business.

"I was able to assure them under the new government we are open to sensible, sustainable, transparent investment in Tasmania in each of our key sectors," Mr Hodgman said.

"Front and centre has been our agricultural and aquacultural products, but there has also been a very keen interest in our service industries, including education and tourism."

Mr Hodgman said he had discussed Tasmania's timber products while in China, but the majority of forestry talks would take place in Japan.

He flew into Tokyo late on Saturday night, where he will remain until tomorrow.

"The Chinese market is obviously rapidly expanding and there's a genuine appreciation that we are good managers of our environment and our product," he said.

"China presents massive new opportunities, but we should always be very keen to develop our existing relationships and explore new ones with Japan."

The Premier said a number of Japanese companies were enthusiastic to discuss developing forestry links, but would not be drawn on which companies he was due to meet with.

Mr Hodgman was quick to quash criticism of his involvement in the trade mission, saying it was an opportunity not to be missed.

"While there might be some who are critical of me undertaking a role in this very rare opportunity most people would appreciate its value," he said.

"I would have been under greater attack from the community, from Tasmanian companies, and from companies in China and Japan who have an interest in our state if I had not made myself available."

Mr Hodgman said so far on his travels, he had resisted indulging too much in local foods from street vendors.

"It's always very important to sample the local product," Mr Hodgman said.

"I think it again highlights how magnificent our product is in comparison."

Mr Hodgman said he was immensely proud to see Josef Chromy wines served at a lavish closing symposium in Beijing.

The Premier said he would be straight back to work upon his return to Tasmania on Wednesday."I'll be very keen to ensure we follow up immediately on what we have done on this delegation and ensure links are strengthened as a result of my visit," he said.

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