Detailed News


Event Recap: ChAFTA Forum - Melbourne

17 March 2016

On Thursday 17 March, 100 guests joined the ACBC/PACIA ChAFTA Forum at International Chamber House. Titled ‘Unlocking the ChAFTA’, expert speakers discussed the benefits and opportunities provided by the China Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The day’s proceedings began with a keynote address from Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP. In his address, the Minister highlighted that the Victorian Government and in particular, the Victorian Government Business Offices in China, were here to play a constructive role in helping businesses engage with the Chinese market and take full advantage of the opportunities present there. Further, he expressed his and his government’s support for the ChAFTA, conveying that the tariff reductions and competitive advantage provided by the agreement would no doubt support greater two-way trade and investment and allow Victoria to grow our share of what is a very big pie.

He also thanked ACBC, and in particular the National Chair, The Hon John Brumby; the Victorian President, The Hon Ken Smith and CEO, Virginia Birrell, for their support of the Government's initiatives and their extensive activities to promote ChAFTA.

Presentations followed covering:

  • An overview of the ChAFTA - Mr Peter Roberts, Assistant Secretary, North Asia Goods Branch, FTA Division, DFAT
  • Australian government programs and services to support Australian companies - Mr Stuart Rees, Senior Trade Advisor, International Operations, Austrade
  • Securing Finance - Mr Kip Hanna, Head of International Business Development, ANZ and Mr Philip Smith, State Director for SME (Vic & Tas), Efic
  • Protecting IP and developing Patents - Mr Andrew Gregory, Associate, FB Rice
  • Exporting knowledge and skills - Mr Jonathan Clancy, CEO and Managing Director, Qenos
  • Navigating Logistics - Ms Danielle Davenport, National Sales Manager, International Customs and Logistics (ICAL)

A group discussion and Q&A session moderated by MC, Ms Rohini Kappadath, Director, Cross Border Business, Pitcher Partners, concluded an informative forum. The main point stressed by the speakers was that the benefits of an FTA do not apply automatically. It is up to businesses to utilise the information, resources and assistance available in order to fully capitalise on the benefits and opportunities provided by agreements such as the ChAFTA.

The formal proceedings concluded with a networking drinks function.

We kindly thank all our speakers for generously donating their time and expertise, and thank PACIA for their involvement in the event.