The Dutch trade mission to Australia (31 October-4 November 2016): Report
From October 31 to November 4 2016, during the state visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima to Australia, an accompanying Dutch economic mission led by Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and Henk Kamp, Minister for Economic Affairs, also visited Australia.
While Their Majesties and Foreign Minister Koenders met with various dignitaries, among whom the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and several State Governors and federal ministers, Minister Ploumen and Minister Kamp followed a separate programme. Together with over 100 Dutch delegates from different sectors of the economy, the Ministers traveled from Adelaide to Canberra, from Canberra on to Sydney, and from Sydney to Melbourne to eventually finish the trade mission there.
The range of sectors participating was widespread: from Agriculture and Food to Logistics and Infrastructure, from Sports to Horticulture, and from Water to Smart Cities and Life Sciences and Health.
Minister Ploumen opened the trade mission in Adelaide, where her full programme included a meeting with Assistant Minister and Senator Anne Ruston, with whom she discussed agriculture and water resources. Thereafter, the two presented inspiring speeches at the network lunch for the delegates in Adelaide. Moreover, Minister Ploumen talked about smart cities with the Dutch Smart Cities delegation and the Lord Mayor of Adelaide and met Governor Hieu van Le in the Government House of South Australia.
After a succesful day, it was time for the delegation and the Minister to move on to the capital, Canberra. There, Minister Ploumen opened the workshop ‘Future Challenges in Health Care’ after being welcomed by Martin Bowles, Australian Secretary for Health. Moreover, Minister Ploumen met with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, with whom she signed a Letter of Intent for joint Australian and Dutch water aid in third world countries in the company of, among others, Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The rest of the day was focused on sports. A highlight was an interesting collaboration being signed where sports met technology: a team-up between the Australian Sports Commission and NL Technology Network!
On Wednesday 2 November, after another full day in Canberra, Minister Ploumen handed the delegation over to Minister Kamp in Sydney. The Sydney visit started with one of the biggest events during the entire state visit: the so called “return hospitality”. To show their gratitude to the Australian people, the King and Queen of the Netherlands hosted a concert and reception in an orange-lit Sydney Opera House for over 2000 guests!
After a night full of classical music and champagne, the delegation had a full schedule on their second day in Sydney. At Cockatoo Island, an industrial Unesco World Heritage site, the delegation and the state visit crossed paths as Their Majesties congratulated various Dutch and Australian companies with the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU’s) worth millions of dollars. Thereafter, the Agriculture and Food sector, as well as Their Majesties, attended the launch of the Farm2Fork Summit 2016, seeing FoodBytes in Australia for the first time, focusing on sustainable food production and global food security. Another highlight of the day was the Smart Cities summit, bringing together Dutch and Australian experts in order to stimulate future cooperation.
For the last day of the trade mission, Minister Kamp and the trade delegation parted ways with Their Majesties, continuing their way from Sydney to Melbourne. The day started early for the Minister, when a meeting with the Honourable Minister Wade Noonan MP, Victoria Minister for Industry and Employment, took place.
Other highlights of the last day included a visit from Minister Kamp to the Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford MP and a visit by the sport sector to the Australian Football League, where Victoria University, Melbourne Australia and Sportscloud signed a MoU to cooperate in providing, among other things, a new Masters degree in sport data analytics. After a visit to the Port of Melbourne, the trade mission was wrapped up: it was time for Minister Kamp, as well as for Their Majesties, to visit New Zealand!