Queensland’s economic presence in the Pacific will be strengthened by the appointment of Leata Alaimoana as Trade Commissioner for the region.
Alaimoana was Impact Investment Manager with Pacific Trade Invest Australia – the trade and investment arm for the Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Trade Commissioner is part of the Pacific Engagement Plan funded under the $150 million (US$100 million) Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2022-2032 launched last year.
Alaimoana will lead the Palaszczuk Government’s Pacific Trade Strategy.
The strategy’s focus is on key export partners across Melanesia and Polynesia, including Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
Alaimoana will be assisted by a development specialist in Papua New Guinea, to drive trade and investment opportunities for Queensland and PNG businesses.
Another business development specialist inside a strengthened TIQ office in New Zealand will work for Alaimoana to oversee relationships in Polynesian nations, including Samoa and Tonga.
The strategy led by Alaimoana will enable Queensland to enhance and expand its existing relationships and develop new alliances for the benefit of Queensland businesses and industry, and the region.
In 2021, Queensland exports to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu were valued at $856 million (US$574 million), representing 31.6 percent of Australian exports to the region.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick said: “As Queensland’s nearest neighbour, the Pacific presents significant economic opportunities for Queensland companies and businesses.
“Growing the State’s international network to the Pacific will contribute to fostering a strong, stable and successful region that enables two-way trade and investment and importantly creates economic opportunities for Queensland businesses.
“Queensland is also the only Australian jurisdiction to have a formal agreement with Papua New Guinea, which has been in place since 1992.
“By Queensland becoming further embedded in the business development environment within the Pacific, there will be two-way support for businesses to grow, build new connections and increase trade.”
CEO Trade and Investment Queensland, Justin McGowan said: “Leata Alaimoana brings a great deal to the role, particularly her understanding of the Pacific business community and the trade opportunities in the region.”
Pacific Trade Commissioner Leata Alaimoana said: “Bringing my proud Pacific Island heritage to Queensland is a distinct privilege.
“I’m thrilled to be leading the Queensland Government’s Pacific Engagement Plan and elevating our state’s profile in the Pacific region.
“There are so many synergies and great opportunities that we can explore with Queensland’s closest neighbours and I’m confident that this targeted focus will result in very positive trade and investment outcomes that will benefit our state and the entire region.”
Alaimoana will raise the profile of Queensland and identify new opportunities to pursue as well as support Queensland exporters to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
Taking the role as Pacific Trade Commissioner is a home coming for Alaimoana, who started her professional career working in investment attraction and industry development for the Queensland Government 20 years ago.
In that role she was pivotal in securing Queensland as the home of Qantas’s fleet of Dreamliner air crafts.
Alaimoana has most recently spent the past five years as Pacific Trade Invest Impact’s Investment Manager for the region’s peak economic organisation the Pacific Islands Forum.
The new position is funded under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2022-2032, which highlights that one in five Queensland jobs is supported by exports.
The strategy focuses on a number of initiatives including expanding the international network, leveraging trade opportunities around the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and assisting exporters through grant programmes.
The strategy projects success in the next decade, building on Queensland’s traditional strengths and industries such as biomedical life sciences, enabling and innovative technology, defence, new economy minerals and battery storage.
SOURCE: QLD GOVT/PACNEWS