Austin has a new trade opportunity, and it comes from a land down under.
The state of Western Australia — which occupies one third of the continent and is home to major destinations like Perth and Ningaloo Reef — will open its sixth international investment and trade hub in Austin next year. The new, $10 million office will be the state’s only hub in the Americas.
“You can already see lots of connections between what’s important in Austin and what’s important to Western Australia,” said Simone Spencer, deputy director general of Strategy and International Engagement, at an event on South Congress last week. “We’re really keen to be Austin’s gateway to the Indo-Pacific.”
The Austin trade office is part of Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan’s effort to diversify the state’s economy. The connection may prove fruitful for Austin’s tech industry, as well.
Western Australia is currently one of the largest exporters of lithium in the world, accounting for ~52% of global supply in 2021. The metal is essential for producing the batteries that run electric vehicles — and Texas just so happens to be one of the top markets in the US for EVs.
The Austin office will join five of Western Australia’s other international hubs, which serve southeast Asia, China, the India-Gulf region, northeast Asia, as well as the UK and Europe.
The office will open in early 2024, although a location has not yet been announced. Former Australian trade commissioner Natasha Monks will lead the department.
So, why Austin? McGowan’s government cited the city’s connection to several industries, including advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and health sciences.
“It’s been thrilling to watch the way that Austin has evolved over the last two decades,” Monks said in Austin last week. “It’s going to be exciting for me personally to be embedded here, to be part of that collaboration.”