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Dr Soon Chye TAN

Bsc, Msc, PhD

Current Appointment:

Australian Natural Biotechnology Pty Ltd, Product and Trade Development Manager

Previous Appointment:

Principal Research Scientist & Trade Development Manager – Horticulture Industries Department of Agriculture and Food, WA


2016 – Australia China Business Council (ACBC) WA Branch Honorary Award for outstanding and sustained service to ACBC (WA).

2008 – Hainan Province, China, Coconut Island Commemorative Award.  The Certificate of Coconut Island Commemorative Award was presented to Dr Soon Chye Tan in appreciation of his enthusiastic support for Hainan’s construction and your friendly co-operation.

2001 – Department of Agriculture, Western Australia Excellent Award (Customer Service-Metropolitan).

The Award was given to Dr Tan in recognition for his outstanding services to exporters and producers in developing new trade opportunities through the Country Focus Project.

2001 – Category Winner (Targeting Taiwan-An Export Success Story): Economic Development Category, 2001 Western Australian Premier’s Award.  Dr Tan was the Project Manager of Focus Taiwan Project that aimed to develop stronger relationships between agricultural, fisheries and food sectors in Western Australia and Taiwan.  Focus Taiwan Project effectively assisted Western Australian agricultural industries in developing new trade to Taiwan and attracting investments into Western Australia. 

2001 – Zhejiang Province, China West Lake Friendship Award:  The certificate of West Lake Friendship and West Lake Friendship Medal were awarded to Dr Tan in appreciation of his enthusiastic support for Zhejiang Province’s construction and his friendly co-operation, especially in the post-harvest area.

1999 – The People’s Republic of China Friendship Award:  Dr Tan received the prestigious Friendship Award from the People’s Republic of China in 1999.  He was the first person in Western Australia to receive such an honour.  Friendship Award is the greatest honour given to foreign experts by the Chinese government for outstanding contribution and dedication to the country’s social and economic development.  Dr Tan’s contribution was to improve post-harvest handling technologies of fruit and vegetables and cool chain management in China by conducting workshops, training courses and technical exchanges.

1998 – Shandong Province (QiLu) Friendship Award:  Dr Tan was Western Australia’s first recipient of the Shandong Province’s QiLu Friendship Award.  He received the award for his works in postharvest technologies and his contribution to strengthening relationships between China and Western Australia by promoting technical, cultural and personnel exchanges.

Dr Tan knows China well and has many useful connections and contacts.


(A) Publication/Communication

Dr Tan has published widely to promote research and extend research results.  He has written 104 scientific papers in refereed journals, conference proceedings, book chapters and special issues; 84 popular publications in agricultural/growers’ magazines, newspapers and reports;  and 2 books.  A total of 190 publications.

Besides horticultural post-harvest, Dr Tan has also published many trade and market development and policy related documents while working as Trade Development Manager.

(B) Horticultural Post-Harvest

  • Undertaken ground-breaking work with the Australian National Line (ANL) Ltd and ICI Ltd to develop Active Packaging of bananas. The Active Packaging technology developed by Dr Tan in Western Australia, in conjunction with ANL, ICI and CSIRO, involved the use of polyethylene liner and ethylene absorbent has enable the Banana Growers Federation Co-operative to successful test market a container of 720 cartons of banana to Greece.  This was the first ever trial shipment of Australian banana to Europe.
    Outcome:  Active Packaging is being used as an alternative technology in the banana industry.
  • Dr Tan has also worked with Institute for Horticultural Development in Knoxfield, Victoria, ANL Ltd, CSIRO and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) company in developing MAP liners for the long term storage and long distance export of fruit and vegetables.
    Outcome:  Dr Tan has contributed to the success of commercialisation of some MAP carton liners.
  • Dr Tan in Post-Harvest Laboratory, South Perth, has identified the optimal concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide for the CA container transportation of sweet corn in Western Australia conditions.
    Outcome:  The CA container technology has been proved successful by carrying out   trial shipment of sweet corns to Japan.
  • Successfully completed ‘Temperature Monitoring Project’ with WA Air Freight Council, WA Sea Freight Council and the Curtin University of Technology. The aim of the project is to monitor temperature profiles during the transportation of fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat and dairy products) by air freight and sea freight to overseas.
    Outcome:  The industries have adopted better post-harvest handling systems and cool chain managements and hence improved the quality of exported fresh produce such as strawberry, mango and many others.
  • Developed several “Best Practices Manuals” for the growers and exporters in Western Australia.
    Outcome:  Developed new export vegetables to new markets.

(C) Trade and Market Development

Before the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA divisional re-structure in September 2011, Dr Tan was the Country Manager of Greater China Region (China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) and Indonesia.   After the re-structure, Soon Chye took up the position as Trade Development Manager – Horticultural Industries.

He also involved in R4R Sheep Industry Business Innovation (SIBI) Project, especially assisting in organising the successful Sheepmeat Insights Tour to China in July 2015.

There has been an increasing focus on strategies that promote business to business relations (B2B) and business to consumer relations (B2C).  Dr Tan’s diverse array of skills, including his command of Asian languages such as Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia and several Chinese dialects, and his familiarity and ease with China and South-East Asian culture, make him ideal in establishing opportunities for traders, importers and exporters to interact in the same forums to further progress trade and exchange of both produce and new ideas, and suitable policy formulation.  He has excellent networks/contacts and working relationships in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Dr Tan knows WA agriculture and food industries well, especially their strengths as well as being realistic about their limitations and ways to continually improve in these areas.

(D) Country Focus Project

Dr Tan was the Project Manager of Country Focus Project managed by AGWEST Trade and Development, Agriculture Western Australia (old name for DAFWA) in 1997 – 2005.
Country Focus Project was an initiative of the Western Australian Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Monty House, to encourage and develop a stronger trade relationship between the agricultural, fisheries and food sectors in Western Australia and Asia.  RfR funded Asian Market Success Project has some similarity with the Country Focus Project.

Country Focus Project encouraged and promoted the transfer of technology, establishment of strategic alliances for long, lasting trade partnership between the producers and buyers.  It also identified and promoted investment in food and agricultural production in Western Australia and Asian countries.

Focus Taiwan Project Team has facilitated and significantly increased the export of flour, seafood, beef, lamb & mutton, dairy product and sandalwood to Taiwan, and hence became the Category Winner (Targeting Taiwan-An Export Success Story): Economic Development Category, 2001 Western Australian Premier’s Award.