SA’s Washington DC trade office director named

A US-based business leader has been appointed to the role of trade and investment director at South Australia’s Washington DC trade office.

Dec 18, 2023, updated Jan 30, 2024
The US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 14, 2023. Credit: Annabelle Gordon / CNP/Sipa USA.

The US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 14, 2023. Credit: Annabelle Gordon / CNP/Sipa USA.

John Elink-Schuurman will work from the newly established South Australian Washington DC trade office as the state positions itself as Australia’s “defence state”.

His appointment follows work done as investment director for defence/space/aerospace at Investment New South Wales. Before that, Elink-Schuurman managed the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program – an export accelerator for Virginia’s international trade division.

John Elink-Schuurman

The DC office was announced as part of the 2023/24 state budget and will be South Australia’s fourth in the United States, joining posts in Houston, San Francisco and New York City.

“I look forward to promoting South Australia as a leading business location for AUKUS-related projects and supporting South Australian defence companies looking to enter the US market,” John Elink-Schuurman said.

“Initially, I will be working on South Australia’s mission to the US to participate in the 2024 Sea-Air-Space Conference and engaging with US submarine industrial base stakeholders in New England and Virginia.

“This important work will focus on enhancing workforce cooperation, research collaboration and the seamless integration of the defence industrial base between our nations.”

Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion said the US was an important trading partner for the state and SA’s second-largest export market, with goods exports up 6.9 per cent to $1.59 billion in the year ending October 2023.

He added the US was also the state’s single largest foreign investor in greenfield projects worth an estimated $7.6 billion since January 2003.

“During my trade mission to the United States last year, it was apparent how many opportunities exist for our South Australian companies and the need to expand our presence within the market,” Champion said.

“John’s appointment comes on the back of bolstering our European presence with the appointment of Pallavi Mishra in Germany. We have also added Martin Haese, Special Envoy for Singapore and Southeast Asia and, soon, we will welcome on board our new India-based role in Mumbai.

“We now have more South Australian representation around the world than ever before, and all our representatives are ready to support South Australian companies to expand or establish themselves in new markets.”

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