Tuesday 8 December – ACBC Victoria held a successful China Market Briefing with Brett Stevens, the Victorian Government’s Commissioner to Greater China and Jason Fitts, Manager – China & Southeast Asia, Global Victoria.
Following our successful pre-posting briefing with Brett in July this year, there has been considerable developments in the bilateral trade relationship. Brett drew on his experience in China to provide valuable on-the-ground insights to help our members and network navigate the current state of the relationship and leverage new opportunities.
Brett emphasised his gratitude and admiration for the Victorian business community and the ACBC for maintaining strong B2B connections with China and that are pushing the relationship forward at the moment.
Covering a wide array of sectoral issues – the CIIE, BRI, five-year plan, RCEP, international students, investment, energy, sustainability, dual circulation and more – this online briefing provided our members and network with reliable, specific and wide-ranging insights into China’s current market status and Victoria’s continuing role with our number one trading partner.
On that note, we will be inviting Brett back for a 2021 Q1 update in the new year.
- China International Import Expo (CIIE) – the world’s largest trade show:
- Victoria had a large footprint resulting in positive reputation and business outcomes.
- Lowered number from 100,000 entrants a day to 30,000. Combined with an onerous entrance process, this created some logistical differences from most years.
- Despite this, the people who did go to the expo were committed and engaged with what was on offer.
- Chinese consumers:
- The average Chinese consumer has not stopped eating beef or drinking wine.
- Current trade policy changes are yet to have substantial impact on consumers.
- Importers of Australian goods in China are struggling and thus, diversifying.
- The Victorian Government remains committed to the agreement as it stands.
- Recognition that the foreign relations bill is a Federal Government prerogative and will comply with decisions made in the national interest.
- The BRI MOU does not insulate Victoria from any of the issues currently being faced on a national level – that was never the intention.
- Unlikely RCEP will heavily impact trade with China as ChAFTA already provides tariff-free and priority treatment for many goods and services.
- However, RCEP will be another tool to allow deeper connection with China and the broader Southeast Asia region.
- Both the Victorian and Federal Government acknowledge advanced manufacturing and innovation are growth sectors for the future of bilateral trade.
- Work in these sectors demonstrate the power of people-to-people connections and value of ongoing engagement.
- International students:
- “We are working hard on getting them back and have a moral and practical obligation to the 88,000 students from China alone.”
- Vic gov working closely with educational institutions and the federal government.
- Work from the City of Melbourne has been critically important in this area.
- A great amount of potential opportunity in this sector.
- Electronic waste remains a huge problem for China. Changes are being made to limit this.
- China’s new five-year plan sets out goals and targets for this industry.
- Changes to FIRB not proving a problem for foreign investment
- China’s dual circulation economy:
- Focus on independent manufacture and supply.
- Chinese consumers will be increasingly cognisant of where their products are coming from.
- Victorian Government focus on helping business stabilise then rebuild with three key state government initiatives:
- Global Gateway Program – up to $50k to secure professional service advice.
- Asia Gateway – Ongoing
- Virtual trade missions – replacing in-person missions with virtual trade networks linked with the Victorian Government Trade & Investment Offices (VGTI) in China.
- eCommerce program – helping Victorian businesses connect with international markets.
- Federal government is very clear.