SYDNEY, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Deeper links with Asia are vital for regional businesses and communities, Western Australia's (WA) Asian Engagement Minister Peter Tinley said on Wednesday, as the state government launched its first ever Asian Engagement Strategy.
"Developed and developing Asian countries are thriving economically, socially and culturally, providing an incredible opportunity for our state, but we must act now," he said.
"WA is in a unique position to participate - our geographic proximity and longstanding relationships with Asia are unequalled, and our globally competitive and innovative economy is ready to deliver more for the region," he said.
Increasing from 24 billion Australian dollars (16.5 billion U.S. dollars) to 129 billion Australian dollars (88.7 billion U.S. dollars) between 2004 to 2018, WA already exports more merchandise to Asia than any other state in Down Under.
But in order to boost the state's tourism, energy, primary industry, mining and technology sectors even further, the Asian Engagement Strategy outlines several ways to maximize its trade and investment.
Among the ideas is a plan to focus on attracting infrastructure-linked investment that can "unleash the economic potential of regional WA" and to better support rural businesses looking to identify export opportunities to Asian markets.
The WA government also wants to enhance people-to-people links with Asian nations and improve the state's "Asian language and culture skills".
"This new strategy will ensure WA does not miss the enormous opportunities Asia presents to diversify our economy and create jobs, as well as the many cultural and social benefits of establishing deeper relationships with Asian communities," Tinley said.
"The strategy is highly collaborative, and the WA government will support and consult regional businesses across WA to increase jobs and skills and the capacity to trade with Asia," Tinley said.