Shared values key to deals in Australia: Ennis
Northern Ireland companies are hoping shared language and values will help clinch deals as they head Down Under on Invest NI's first Australian trade mission in a decade.
Invest NI chairman Mark Ennis said the things Northern Ireland have in common with Australia could help offset the disadvantages of working with such a distant export partner.
And 15 Northern Ireland companies, in sectors including IT, engineering and security, are part of the delegation which will visit Sydney and Melbourne.
Some Northern Ireland firms - life science companies Randox, Norbrook and Randox - are already in business in Australia.
Mr Ennis, who is leading the delegation, said Australia had enjoyed good growth over the past two decades, thanks to strong commodity growth in its "resource-rich" environment.
But he added: "Recently, growth rates have fallen to those similar to Northern Ireland as the economy adjusts to falling demand from China.
"It still offers good trade opportunities which are often discounted by exporters due to its long distance from Europe and America. However, this is compensated by Australia having a common language and, more importantly, very similar business values and rules to the business environment in Northern Ireland which does offer competitive advantage."
He said companies in Northern Ireland could look to exploit openings in Australia's retail, consumer goods, wine-making, renewable energy and life-sciences and telecoms sectors, among others.
"These sectors offer real opportunities for Northern Ireland companies to export products and services," Mr Ennis said.
Companies will meet potential distributors and business partners during the trip and Mr Ennis is also set to meet Australian government departments and agencies, to discuss trade and investment.