An agreement has been reached to strengthen ties between the Australian state of Tasmania and the Chinese province of Fujian, with supermarket chain Yonghui Superstores looking set to bolster imports over the coming years.
Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman led an Australian business delegation to China on March 28, where they were accompanied by the provincial government’s Foreign Affairs Office Deputy Director Wang Tianming.
Representatives from Yonghui were also present during the visit, and reached a deal with the Tasmanian delegation to further their partnership.
The company’s chairman Zhang Xuansong said China and Australia were fostering a strong friendship, and described Fujian and Tasmania as ‘sister states’.
Last November, Yonghui representatives accompanied Fujian provincial secretary You Quan on a business trip to Tasmania. By Dec. 3, the first shipment of Tasmanian sea snails had arrived on Yonghui’s supermarket shelves.
“It’s a good start, and we hope to further capitalize on this market opportunity,” Zhang said in a release.
He added Yonghui would begin to purchase local specialities and snack foods, and expressed strong confidence in the partnership between the company and the island state in the future.
According to Yonghui’s figures, in 2014 the chain purchased Australian mangoes, oranges, tangerines, and beef, as well as Tasmanian sea snails, salmon, tiger prawns, with a total value of more than CNY80 million (US$13 million).
This year, Yonghui is planning to expand trade by purchasing more than 2,600 metric tons (MT) – or CNY90 million (US$15 million) – of products.
During the visit, Hodgman highlighted the high quality of the state’s produce due to the island’s natural surroundings.
Other members of the Tasmania delegation included Lord Mayor of Hobart City, Sue Hickey, Launceston City Mayor, Albert Van Zetten, Tasmanian Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Trade, Adam Brooks, and representatives of several Tasmanian companies.
Members of Yonghui’s global procurement team were also present during the visit.