2014 Australia - China Trade Report WA Launch
22 May 2015
We were pleased to have a fantastic turnout at the Australia China Business Council (WA Branch) launch of the 2014 Australia - China Trade Report in Perth today. There were a number of keynote speakers, including Deirdre Willmott CEO of CCI WA, Sun Anlin -Acting Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China in Perth and Mike Beckingham, Regional Business Executive with the NAB.
Deirdre mentioned that she found some of the findings in the report (such as the number of Australian workplaces involved in exports to China, and the amount of jobs in Australia directly underwritten by the Australia - China engagement) of particular interest. Deirdre suggested that CCI WA supports the report recommendations that governments should invest in infrastructure that supports efficiency, and that CCI WA supports the removal of barriers to assist the rise in the Australian services industry.
Sun Anlin, Acting Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China in Perth, also spoke to us about her thoughts, and congratulated the successful launch of the report. She said how thankful she was to the ACBC, NAB and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for its work towards Australia - China economic trade and agreements, and the efforts put into preparing such reports. She told us that the Chinese market was becoming increasingly sustainable, and has experienced increasing transparency and heightened existence of the rule of law. Ms Sun said that the signing of the FTA and the upcoming Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will bring significant opportunities to the Australia - China relationship.
Mike Beckingham, Regional Business Executive with the NAB also spoke to us. He believed that the report confirms that relationships are key to doing business in China. Mr Beckingham said that the report demonstrated that "as ties deepen, we tap into previously untapped networks and markets. Some of these have traditionally been difficult for Australian businesses to access. Australian exporters are now actively involved in Chinese value chains, providing a multitude of opportunities."
The event also had a panel discussion, including Frank Tudor representing the Australia China Council, Tony Hatt from the Devwest Group, Anthony Wilkes from Ferngrove and James Yang from UnionPay (银联).
Frank Tudor (representing the Australia China Council) said we are seeing that as the relationship with China has matured, we have moved from trading in 'tangibles' to bilateral investment, and now to 'intangibles'. Service provision to Chinese consumers such as tourism, financial services and education are growing, and the NAB and ANZ were cited as examples of Australian financial institutions now pushing into the Chinese domestic market.
Tony Hatt, CEO of Devwest Group spoke on the importance of 'people to people' relationships when dealing with Chinese partners and investors. Tony named how Joyce, an in-house Chinese speaking employee, had played a crucial role building such relationships, resulting in successful outcomes. Interestingly, Tony educated us that Australian OH&S and building processes / standards are also being exported to China through partnerships Devwest has developed with its Chinese investors. These Chinese investors 'see' how property developments are managed by Devwest, and take Australian standards back to China with them.
Anthony Wilkes from Ferngrove spoke on how Chinese capital provided much-needed investment flows, and saved the Ferngrove business from an alarming financial situation. Ferngrove appears as a key case study in the Report.
James Yang from UnionPay (银联) told us that there were 4.5bn UnionPay cards in circulation, generating more than $6trillion USD in processing value by UnionPay. He educated us that if you are a Chinese national, you can only exchange a limited value of RMB (人民币) per year per person (around $50k USD). As such, students, tourists and others coming to Australia would naturally have a limited ability to make certain purchases, whilst a UnionPay card is without restriction and removes such barriers. James gave the example of a Chinese individual coming to Australia, and being able to buy a Mercedes Benz with a UnionPay card where they would otherwise struggle to have the appropriate amount of money to do so.
The launch was well received, and the panel discussion included thought-provoking questions from the floor.
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