An October invitation to visit the eighth China Overseas Investment Fair (COIFair) was a sign of the serious ongoing intentions of Chinese investors to bankroll a meat processing facility at Hughenden, according to Flinders mayor Jane McNamara.
Cr McNamara, together with Rob Atkinson, chairman of NorthBEEF, the group funding the abattoir and quartering facility, attended the investment forum in Beijing on October 20 as guests of Xinning Wang and Miao Wang of DSCY Investments.
They were also given the opportunity to meet with officials from the Australian Embassy and the Chinese Agricultural Department in Beijing, which Cr McNamara said was particularly important because 18 officials representing different areas of China were in attendance to hear presentations from DSCY Aust Ltd, the Flinders shire, and NorthBEEF.
“The meeting gave a positive signal for the project and was informative for all participants,” Cr McNamara said. “They wanted to demonstrate their business to us.”
She said that as a petro-chemical company, DSCY Investments needed to get appropriate government approvals before the Memorandum of Understanding signed in August 2015 between DSCY Aust, the Flinders Shire Council and NorthBEEF could progress any further.
While discussions have taken place since then, progression now rests with the Chinese government, Cr McNamara said.
COIFair was opened by the Vice Premier of China, Wang Yang and the chairman of the Chinese-Russian Committee for Friendship, Peace, and Development, Boris Titov.
From Beijing a trip was organised to Hebei province to meet with County of Li mayor and councillors and major proprietors in the leather industry based there.
According to Cr McNamara, the province manufactures 70 per cent of the world’s leather products.
“We were shown local leather markets for sheep, horse and cattle hides, and the next day we toured the leather processing factories from wet blue through to the finished products ready for worldwide distribution.
“This is an integral part of the business for the Hughenden Project as this is where the hides would be processed.”
They then travelled from Cangzhou to Zhenjiang to meet with DSCY Aust Ltd partners High Hope Cold Solutions.
Cr McNamara said they were a major link in the supply chain as their business is to import fresh frozen food from around the world and distribute it to customers within China.
"Rob and I were pleased to have been invited to attend the COIFAIR and to have been made very welcome by our hosts.
"Both NorthBEEF and the Flinders Shire look forward to the next stages of this development and our close relationship with Mr Wang, Ms Wang and all of the DSCY Aust Ltd partners.
”As representatives of our organisations we feel very honoured to have met and developed friendships with so many people while on this whirlwind tour to China.”