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Gold Coast trade soars across the ditch


A unique bond between New Zealand and Australia’s Gold Coast is flourishing as demand for trans-Tasman trade builds on the back of the quarantine-free travel bubble.

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Capitalising on this relationship are local Gold Coast businesses accelerating the city’s economic recovery.

In 2019-20, Gold Coast exported $4.88 billion in products and services internationally, led by the rapidly growing manufacturing, health care, transport and education sectors.

“Our city’s economy is driven by small businesses with around 66,000 registered today,’’ Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said.

“New Zealand is an attractive market for many businesses. We share so much through sport, education and social connectivity given the high New Zealand ex-pat population here in our city.”

Trade and Investment Queensland Director Business Development New Zealand, Richard Simpson, said the Gold Coast was an attractive trade destination given its diverse range of businesses and industry sectors.

“Market diversification is critical. There are tremendous opportunities coming out of Covid that can be capitalised on,” Simpson said.

“As a result of the close, long-standing relationship between New Zealand and the Gold Coast, the economic opportunity has never been greater.

“Collaboration is key, and there are programs and initiatives here on the Gold Coast and across Queensland that can help businesses break into the New Zealand market.”

Senior Business Development Manager at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Philippa Hawken, said there were unique benefits for Australian businesses looking to trade with New Zealand.“A long-standing free trade agreement signed in 1983, and the subsequent single economic market agenda, allows Australian products to enter duty free – a huge financial incentive for Australian businesses trading to New Zealand,” said Hawken.

“Australia and New Zealand have a mutual recognition of skills and occupations, so there’s no need to retrain or practice in the same skill or occupation in New Zealand.

“Australian products are well respected in New Zealand, and New Zealand government tenders are open to Australian companies to bid for.

“The food and beverage sector in New Zealand is worth over $71 billion. We’re seeing a lot of opportunity around food ingredients, premium food, technology, partnerships and research.

“There are also opportunities in space, marine, defence, agritech, smart technologies, infrastructure, construction, services and sport, to name a few.”

Chief Executive officer of Gold Coast-based Autex – an innovative acoustic product developer, Mark Robinson, said the business originated in New Zealand, and moved its manufacturing unit to Yatala on the Gold Coast, exporting back to New Zealand as well as America, the United Kingdom and other international markets.

Robinson, also the owner of the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team, said the New Zealand market was key for the Gold Coast.

“They appreciate good quality and good people and you’ll get a better margin selling your product into New Zealand,” Robinson said.

CEO of Gold Coast business OzKleen and Fiik Skateboards, Tom Quinn, said New Zealand was the perfect market for international expansion for Gold Coast companies.

“It’s a good market to start with, it’s close, so airfares are cheap, and they speak the same language. It’s really an easily digestible first market for an emerging business,” he said.

OzKleen, who manufacture environmentally friendly cleaning products, already exports to six countries and have plans of further expansion once travel restrictions are lifted.

Following from the success of OzKleen, Quinn said his electric skateboard company Fiik Skateboards had also begun exporting to New Zealand.

“Word of mouth works very strongly in New Zealand, more so than any other country I’ve been to. Once you get that word of mouth going in New Zealand, the whole country picks up your product very quickly,” said Quinn.

“That’s the best advice I could ever give anyone entering the market – work on word of mouth. It just takes care of your marketing for you at no cost.”

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