S.C. Statehouse Report
Jan. 4, 2004
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Sister state relationship
SC Statehouse Report
4, 2004 - - Try to think of a Southern state that has about 4 million
people and has a patriotic, self-reliant people with a good work
ethic who love economic development.
South Carolina? Well, yes and no. It's also the Palmetto State's
sister state - - Queensland in Australia.
The state's leader, Premier Peter Beattie, recently sent a list
of key points that highlighted the value of the growing business,
educational and cultural relationship between South Carolina and
Queensland. In mid-2003, he made his fifth visit here in about as
Sanford and I renewed the commitment to the Sister State Agreement
and especially decided to focus on business opportunities for companies
in South Carolina and Queensland, and perhaps joint ventures into
South East Asia," Beattie wrote.
Although Queensland literally is on the other side of the world,
it makes good sense to be her partner. Why? Because the states are
compatible and salivate at economic development opportunities.
"We're the same kind of folks," said former Parks, Recreation
and Tourism Director John Durst, an honorary ambassador for Queensland.
"When you get people of good will together, you can make good
things happen - - and people of South Carolina and Queensland are
people of good will."
WORLD: Uncle Sam's resolution
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Among the similarities:
Trade. Both states have major ports that move a lot of cargo.
They also are aggressive in pursuing trade opportunities.
Tourism. Both states have major tourism industries. People
throughout Asia visit the Great Barrier Reef, the rain forest and
other natural wonders. And much like we lure vacationers to the
Grand Strand, Queensland's Gold Coast is a vacationer's Mecca. Currently,
the states have a hospitality and tourism educational exchange between
their state universities.
Technology. Queensland is making a name for itself as a
world leader in biotechnology and life sciences research - - the
same kind of research and entrepreneurial spirit that revolves around
the Medical University of South Carolina. A biotech forum is planned
between the states this year. Also with the University of South
Carolina's budding research effort into nanotechnology (making very
small technical products), some kind of partnership with Queensland's
40,000 information technology workers makes sense.
Agriculture and aquaculture. Both states continue to rely
on agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries as major economic
components. With major research stations for maritime and agriculture
research located in Charleston, opportunities abound for Queensland.
Language. With the Asian market picking up a huge head of
steam in the future, there's a natural fit brought on by culture
and the similar languages in the two states. It's not hard to envision
how Queensland could be a business and export platform for S.C.
and U.S. businesses in the Asian market and how S.C. could be a
U.S. base of operations for Queensland businesses that want access
to the rich U.S. and European markets.
relationship between the two states didn't just come about, said
Rob Whiddon, chief of staff to Premier Beattie in Queensland. It
started when Queensland came to South Carolina in 1996 to study
how South Carolina became a launching pad for some of the foreign
Olympic teams before they took part in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Queensland wanted to do the same - - and it did with South Carolina's
help - - for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Since then, the states have become closer, with Australia providing
koalas to Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo, one of the only places in the
U.S. to view the species.
Business between the states is budding. For example, Ballandean
Estate Wines of Queensland now uses South Carolina as its import
base into the East coast. U.S. sales now account for 15 percent
of the company's total sales. Later this year, several Queensland
companies are expected to seek letters of introduction from Beattie's
government to get help for business opportunities here.
Now the states can continue to spur new relationships and ideas
to promote mutual business and other opportunities in China, Whiddon
"The future is just enormous," he said in a telephone
interview. "China needs the sort of expertise that Australia
and the U.S. can provide. There are great things we can do in the
Bottom line: More jobs are in the offing for South Carolina and
Queensland if we continue to nurture the sister state relationship.
Uncle Sam's resolution
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:
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