Premier spruiks NSW as economic powerhouse

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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has arrived in Japan on a 10-day tour in a bid to attract global investment to the state, as questions over candidate selection for a trade commissioner role mars his foreign jaunt.

Mr Perrottet's first overseas trip as premier comes at a tumultuous time for the government, with former deputy premier John Barilaro embroiled in growing controversy over his appointment to the US trade commissioner's job.

The premier opened the trade commissioner's office in Tokyo as an inquiry continues into the appointment of Mr Barilaro to the equivalent posting in New York, which he later relinquished amid public pressure.

Other trade appointments include positions in India, ASEAN, the Middle East and Europe, which were established to attract foreign investment to NSW.

Mr Perrottet flew out hours after former Liberal minister John Sidoti was found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Despite facing possible criminal charges, the now-independent MP has rejected the premier's request to quit parliament, vowing to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

However, on Thursday Mr Perrottet focused on wooing Japanese officials.

He is hoping to "seize the moment" as sluggish markets deal with the ongoing Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a speech to Japanese business leaders and officials, including from multinationals such as Hitachi and Mitsubishi, he trumpeted the state's economic credentials as a "powerhouse".

He said Hitachi will build a research and development centre in Australia's newest city of Bradfield, located in far western Sydney, by 2023.

Mr Perrottet is also hoping to use his 10-day trip to sell NSW as an attractive location for supply of hydrogen.

"We are targeting production of 110,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum by 2030," the premier said in a speech in Tokyo on Thursday evening.

"We are aiming to cut the cost of green hydrogen production by more than 50 per cent."

Green hydrogen refers to that produced from electrolysis - splitting hydrogen from oxygen in water - using renewable electricity with zero direct emissions.

Its applications include generation, transport and heating.

Japan, the world's third largest economy, is the biggest export market for NSW, with goods totalling some $10.5 billion in 2021.

"By growing our presence on the ground here today, we are helping to create and support NSW jobs by driving greater engagement with Japan," Mr Perrottet said.

When it came to the Americas Trade Commissioner role, he conceded that mistakes were made in appointing Mr Barilaro to the plum job based in New York.

"I don't want to give a running commentary because the more commentary I give, the less confidence that provides," he said.

Mr Perrottet vowed his government would implement recommendations from a review he commissioned into the job bungle.

"There's always public scrutiny and when concerns are raised they need to be addressed in a proper way," he said.

"It's my job as premier to allow that independent process to be fulfilled."

Mr Perrottet's first stop in Tokyo comes less than two weeks after the assassination of Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe, to whom the premier paid tribute on Thursday at the opening of the trade office

The 67-year-old Mr Abe, who ushered in an era of muscular Japanese foreign policy, was shot on July 8 while giving an election campaign speech near a train station in the city of Nara.

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