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A GROUP of more than 20 business leaders from China visited Port Lincoln on Friday on a state-wide food buying trip worth more than $1 million.
The group visited Southern Water Marine Products and toured the factory, getting a taste of how southern bluefin tuna, rock lobster and prawns are processed before taking a look at Clean Seas' kingfish cages and meeting with various representatives from local fishing groups.
Primary Industries and Regions SA seafood account manager Glen Ingham said the delegation was interested in buying South Australian seafood for Chinese consumers in the Fujian Province.
He said a vision of the future was the construction of a five-star hotel in the Fujian Province that specialised in South Australian food and wine.
Deputy delegation leader Chen Xingfu said the group was very interested in Port Lincoln seafood because it came from a natural and clean environment.
"There is a high demand for seafood in China and to have it grown 100 per cent natural is very rare," he said.
"The main purpose of the delegation is to see what the product is and seeing the trading environment."
He said the delegation was particularly interested in Port Lincoln's southern bluefin tuna.
"We have heard for a long time the best southern bluefin tuna are from Port Lincoln.
"There is a very high demand for this high-end product in China."
Minister for Food and Fisheries Gail Gago said the buying group was the first from the Fujian Province to visit South Australia since the state government and the Fujian Provincial Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last year.
"This buying trip continues the commitment from businesses from the Fujian Province to South Australia and creates an exciting opportunity to generating millions of dollars worth of local food and wine exports over the next 12 months," Ms Gago said.
A number of journalists traveled with the group to Port Lincoln, which she said would lead to positive coverage for South Australia.
She said the group would also visit the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Kangaroo Island.
"Opportunities are emerging in China as a result of the rapid spread of economic growth and development in second and third tier cities, as well as China's drive for improved quality of life for its citizens," Ms Gago said.
"The MOU is designed to enhance investment in South Australia in three ways; through increased exports of premium food and wine from our clean environment, in the exchange of agricultural technologies, and through collaboration in food safety research.
"The visit is about building trust between the Fujian delegation and local businesses.
"At the end of the visit the group will have forged strong relations with local companies, and plans will have been made for ongoing exports over the coming year."
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