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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Good year for Tassie exports

The Mercury: Good year for Tassie exports [05oct05]

TASMANIA has become a bigger player on the world stage in the past year, with international exports up a bumper 17.5 per cent.

The state sold $2.673 billion worth of goods to overseas markets in the 12 months to August -- representing about 20 per cent of Tasmania's Gross State Product.

The performance was a significant improvement on the year before, when exports slumped by 8.2 per cent.

Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings yesterday said this year's rebound of 17.5 per cent was ahead of the national average of 16.5 per cent.

"The continued growth in exports is one of the cornerstones of the state's economic success," Ms Giddings said.

Cosmetics company Beauty and the Bees is one of the state's export success stories, with 10 per cent of its total sales made overseas thanks to accelerating demand for its products.

This week the Hobart-based company sent its first shipment to the United States, building on its overseas sales to Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Founder and owner Jill Saunders said establishing successful niche markets demanded absolute adherence to quality.

"You need to stick to your guns -- be true to what you want to make," Ms Saunders said.

She said Beauty and the Bees' organic range was 100 per cent chemical-free and free of preservatives, which meant many of the creams required refrigeration.

But rather than this being a negative in the export environment, discerning overseas consumers respected the purity of the product.

"Exporters know that fresh is best," she said.

The company's general manager, Paul Brunton, said the inroad into the US could help tap into a huge new market.

He said sales had recently risen in Denmark, presumably because the product was from Princess Mary's home state.

In terms of Tasmania's export markets, the largest increases over the past year by country and value have been to Korea (up $63 million), Singapore (up $62m), Hong Kong (up $57m), China (up $54m), Japan (up $45m), India (up $45m), the US (up $39m) and Taiwan (up $32m).

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