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Australian High Commissioner meets local business representatives

17 January 2017

The Australian High Commissioner to the UK, the Hon Alexander Downer, was in Derry last week to meet local business representatives and discuss ongoing and future trading opportunities.

The Commissioner met with representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest.

Director of Business and Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Stephen Gillespie, said the meeting came at an opportune time given the UK’s impending withdrawal from the European Union.

“This was a useful meeting for the local business representatives, some of whom have existing business interests in Australia,” he noted.

“Our unique situation as a highly populated border region means the potential local implications of Brexit are more complex and it is therefore important for local businesses to explore all their trading options.

“The Commissioner gave an insight into possible trading opportunities in Australia which will allow local business leaders to effectively explore and plan for the future.”

The local businesses at the meeting were agriculture solutions specialists Finrone Systems, agricultural equipment manufacturers Fleming Agri, sportswear brand O’Neills and Dupont.

Australian Ambassador to Ireland Richard Andrews and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin were also in attendance and Mrs McLaughlin said the meeting proved a useful exercise.
“Despite the geographical distance between our areas, Australia has significant trading opportunities for businesses in our region to explore,” she said.

“O’Neill’s Sportswear have had a successful sales office in Adelaide for almost two years now and Australia’s vast agricultural sector means there are a range of opportunities for local businesses like Finrone Systems and Fleming Agri.

“Our local economy currently benefits from the free movement of goods and people between the UK and Ireland but any change to that arrangement would have a detrimental effect on the local economy.”