The Hon Ben Carroll MP - travel report - People’s Republic of China and the United States of America - 1 – 11 April 2018


The Hon Ben Carroll MP


Industry and Employment

Countries visitedPeople's Republic of China and the United States of America
Date of travel1 – 11 April 2018
No of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
Number of accompanying Ministerial Staff1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacityNo
Funding sourceDepartment of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares (including taxes and fees)$23,154
Accommodation (including taxes and fees)$6,623
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)$10,796
Travel cost for minister and staff$40,573

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The purpose of my visit was to explore advances in manufacturing sector policies and technological developments, and to progress investment related opportunities in the medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, professional services and advanced manufacturing sectors.

China and the United States of America (USA) are Victoria's largest trading partners, a significant source of inward investment and are also the largest economies in the world and major manufacturers. Both countries have active policies in place to support development of their manufacturing sectors.

The visit provided the ability to understand the impact of these policies and better understand the rapid technological developments, as well as the opportunity to progress a few specific investment opportunities in these sectors.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria 

During my visit to China and the USA, I attended 22 meetings and events with industry organisations, businesses and investors.


While in Shanghai, I met with the Vice President of Shanghai Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd and toured Shanghai Pharma's new manufacturing facilities, to discuss and promote Victoria's capabilities in medical research and manufacturing, and potential partnership opportunities.

I hosted a Financial Services Roundtable with senior executives of Chinese investment and venture firms to promote investment opportunities in Victoria's key sectors including sciences and healthcare, technology and advanced manufacturing.  

I also met with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), one of China's biggest aerospace manufacturers who is partnering with the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing, and visited their manufacturing facilities.

I toured Huibo Robotics, a subsidiary of Shanghai Dehui Group, in Suzhou. With opportunities to partner with Victoria's universities and institutions, I promoted the ongoing investment by the state in our innovation and technology sectors.

In Beijing, I attended a meeting with Tsinghua University, where I met with senior executives to discuss the success of their innovation model and their experiences with achieving rapid commercialisation outcomes. This visit further afforded me the opportunity to deepen the relationship between the highly ranked Chinese university and Victoria.

I also met with other companies in Beijing, including, who recently opened their Australian headquarters in Melbourne.

United States of America (USA)

My visit to the USA provided a better understanding of the specific opportunities for Victoria in autonomous and '0'-emission vehicles.

In Detroit, I met with senior executives at both General Motors and the Ford Motor Company, where discussions covered the future of the automotive industry, electric and autonomous vehicles, and Victoria's capabilities and expertise in automotive design and engineering.

I also had the chance to visit the Mcity test facility, a world-first initiative, and learnt more about the success of their government and industry partnerships, and how this is facilitating an effective automotive industry evolution. 

In San Francisco, I hosted a dinner with Venture Capital firms and promoted Victoria as an attractive investment destination and met with the President of Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) to exchange ideas around social enterprise and employment.

I had a meeting with Stanford University, which further assisted with identifying new approaches to fostering closer interaction between universities and industry, particularly around Stanford's best practice ME310 engineering course.

I visited the Tesla factory in Fremont and discussed Tesla's mass production of electric vehicles and Tesla's future vision.

I also visited the Global Policy Programs division at Facebook and discussed Victoria's interest in continuing to build our digital skills and potential partnership opportunities.

Next Steps / Follow Up

Follow-up letters detailing specific actions have been sent to all the organisations I met with in China and the USA. These actions included making introductions, sending further information, formally inviting executives to visit Victoria and scheduling follow-up discussions.

Because of the meetings undertaken during my travel, several businesses are likely to visit Victoria this year.

Several industry development activities are also planned. For example, hosting a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders to support development of autonomous systems and the '0'-emission vehicles industry, and prioritising actions to attract greater venture capital activity by leveraging the presence and capabilities of Victoria's fund managers.

Page last updated: 25 June 2018