During the royal couple’s state visit to Australia, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen will head a trade mission consisting of 96 companies and institutions. The mission, which will take place from 30 October to 4 November, will mainly focus on food security, healthcare, sport, logistics and water. The Netherlands invests €31 billion annually in Australia, making it the country’s fourth-largest investor, and exports a total of €4.3 billion in goods and services each year to Australia.
Dutch businesses are internationally known for offering integrated, innovative solutions to social issues. There is a demand for this in Australia. ‘Despite their difference in size, Australia and the Netherlands are similar countries,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘Both have ageing populations and are becoming increasingly urbanised. Our companies and knowledge institutions can share their expertise and experiences in these areas. In addition to that, Dutch businesses can make a valuable contribution to Australia’s planned investments in their seaports and to boosting Australia’s food production.’
While the king and queen kick off their state visit in Perth, Ms Ploumen and a number of the businesses will head to South Australia, a state that is highly dependent on agriculture. Consequently, there is considerable interest in Dutch know-how on intensive farming in times of drought and on how best to address the mounting pressure on the healthcare system. In Adelaide, Ms Ploumen will meet with the mayor, the governor of South Australia and the country’s trade and agriculture ministers. Ms Ploumen will also visit Tonsley Park, a campus for innovative companies, and at the Adelaide Innovation Lab she will be shown a number of inventions in the field of sustainable energy. She will also attend a ‘matchmaking event’ aimed at bringing together Dutch and Australian companies. In Canberra, the political heart of Australia, Ms Ploumen will sign a partnership agreement with Australia on setting up water projects in Myanmar related to agriculture and flood protection. She will also visit the Australian Institute of Sports, which is responsible for state policy on elite sport.
On Wednesday 2 November Ms Ploumen will rejoin the other parties in the state visit, in Canberra. There, the royal couple, foreign minister Bert Koenders and Ms Ploumen will attend a memorial service for the victims of MH17. At Government House the Dutch delegation will speak with the Australian governor-general and attend a state lunch. On 3 November Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp will take over from Ms Ploumen as leader of the trade mission for visits to Sydney and Melbourne.