Cuts to Austrade do zip for local manufacturers

Michael Crouch, chairman and CEO of Zip Industries, has criticised cuts to the number of trade officials in recent years by federal governments.

In an interview with The Australian, Crouch recalled the assistance that Zip – a maker of water delivery appliances – received from trade officials in helping him do business overseas.

Crouch came up with his invention, now found in nearly 70 countries over the world, in the late 1970s, and believes that advice given in selecting business partners was valuable.

"In Singapore they told me the people I had selected had a great name," he told The Australian.

"In Thailand, they advised me to go with an old family company. When you are young and you don't know your way, it is good to have that reassurance."

The inventor said that cuts to Austrade, which has 68 overseas officials overseas, down from 103 in 1996, made poor sense when the government should be trying to encourage greater engagement with export markets.

"I think the government has got to encourage manufacturing exporters," he said. "It's just wrong to completely rely on mining to solve all our problems."

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