25 September 2002

Australian high-tech firms on UK mission - Australian Financial Review

Australian high-tech companies will be helped to push their wares in the UK after a drive by the British Consulate to strengthen information-technology ties between the two countries.

Next month, Trade Partners UK, the British equivalent of Austrade, will launch its second Australian trade mission to England. The 10-day mission, open only to communications technology companies, will see four Australian companies and two New Zealand companies tour the country, taking in TMA2002, one of the UK's biggest technology exhibitions.

The mission coincides with Austrade's Euro High Tech Tour, which will take 10 Australian companies to countries that include France and Italy.

Jim Thompson, trade promotion manager with the British Consulate General in Melbourne, said the mission had a dual purpose. "The idea is to find companies with growth prospects here and take them to the UK, but those companies must also be able to help UK companies establish a base in Australia. There has to be a willingness by them to take on UK products as part of their offering," he said.

Mr Thompson said it was the first time Trade Partners UK had taken the "two way partnership" approach.

Braintree Communication's Phillip Boyle said his company had opted to apply for the Trade Partners UK mission, rather than Austrade's Euro High Tech Tour, because the UK was a more important market for it.

Braintree, whose technology helps small businesses access high speed networks more easily, is one of three Queensland companies joining the mission. The fourth Australian company is Fuse, a Melbourne-based group.

Braintree's technology is used in Australia by Telstra, and Mr Boyle said it planned to approach carriers and telco service providers in the UK. Talks were under way with British Telecom, he said.


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