A seasonal freight link between Tasmania and Hong Kong will be established, with more than 40 tonnes of the state's fresh produce to be flown into the region up to three times a week.
The arrangement between the Tasmanian government and Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific will run from December 16 to February 10 next year and comes amid heightened tensions between Canberra and Beijing, with the latter having slapped debilitating tariffs on key Australian exports such as wine and barley.
Hong Kong, which has been wracked by civil unrest for more than a year, was under British control until 1997, when it was handed back to China.
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Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said the flights - which will stop over in Melbourne - "could include" Tasmanian seafood like live lobster, salmon, live eels and abalone. "It's fantastic news and another vote of confidence in our world-class premium produce that is highly sought after right across the world," he said.
Seafood has been one of a number of Australian exports to feel China's wrath, being hit with increasing quality control measures.
But the service, which will run through a converted Boeing 777-300 passenger jet, is being billed as one that will improve Tasmania's access through Hong Kong to numerous "connecting international destinations" in South-East and Northern Asia, Trade Minister Jeremy Rockliff said.
"We are committed to helping our producers and exporters as they adjust to the COVID business environment and this will help us as we work towards our target of growing the value of our exports to $15 billion a year by 2050," he said.
It's said the service could represent an opportunity for Tasmania to test the market capacity for other international freighter services from Hobart to Asia into the future.
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