09/10/2007 - 22:00

All aboard for China trade

09/10/2007 - 22:00


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The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA is leading a trade mission to China next week as part of a series of visits to the nation.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA is leading a trade mission to China next week as part of a series of visits to the nation.

A delegation of 11 WA businesses will attend China’s largest trade fair, the Canton Fair, this Sunday, with the majority staying on for a tour of Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai.

The trade mission is the fourth of its kind, and the largest since the CCI began trade missions to China in April 2006.

Attending the program for the second time is Midvale-based pipeline installation company, GFR Industries.

The company, which has a turnover of about $40 million and employs 150 staff, is hoping to secure contracts for construction projects in China’s iron ore sector.

GFR director of group business development Gavin Rutherford said the company planned to leverage its experience in WA’s mining industry to gain work in China.

“We’re looking at facilitating business over there that relates back to the resources industry back here,” he said.

Mr Rutherford said the current trip would build on commitments made during a visit to China by company representatives in April this year.

“We’re also looking at procurement opportunities,” he said.

GFR is involved in a number of WA projects, including Cape Lambert Iron Ore Ltd’s namesake project in the Pilbara, and Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations. 

Mr Rutherford said that, with the Beijing Olympics drawing near, there were good opportunities for negotiating agreements with the Chinese.

He said GFR was also considering setting up a supply chain from China for ancillary parts, such as valves and steel support structures.

“We’re looking at having an arm of the business established there that would revolve around the engineering sector,” he said.

GFR expects to increase its WA business by about $15 million this year, with China to provide additional revenue.

Malaga-based Koncept Engineering is also seeking to position itself close to the Chinese engineering services market. 

The company, which services Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Oxiana Ltd among others, is in the preliminary stages of setting up a $200 million joint venture with the Chinese government to service its rail network.

It is also investigating opportunities in the mining and resources sector.

Koncept founder Steve Course said the company, which has a core business in consulting on high-tech projects, would be establishing an office in China.

“We’re looking at setting up an office in Hong Kong and mainland China. We have expats over there already,” Mr Course said.

Koncept is also researching a $400 million project in Russia.

The Canton Fair, which was first held in 1957, will host international exhibitors for the first time this year.

CCI international trade services director Keith Seed said the current trade mission included companies from a range of industries.

“There’s quite a variety of people going, from the service industry through to engineering companies. We’ve got businesses from the construction industry and we’ve even got a dentist – it covers all sectors,” he said.

Mr Seed said companies on previous trade missions had secured business in China within months of returning to WA.

“I think companies are taking advantage of the opportunities China offers in an environment which minimises risk,” he said.

According to data from the Department of Industry and Resources, WA’s exports to China were valued at $13.8 billion in the 2006-07 financial year, up 29 per cent year-on-year.

In total, China accounts for nearly $24 billion of Australia’s exports and makes up about 12 per cent of world gross domestic product.


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