From 3 to 5 November at the Crown Convention Centre in Perth, the most significant bilateral conference between Germany and Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region will redefine the depth of economic linkages between our countries and the wider region. Political and business leaders will explore new investment & trade opportunities with a special focus on the growth in the Asia-Pacific. Germany and Australia share the same values and economic opportunities in both countries and the Asia-Pacific region. Initiatives such as the Australia-Germany Advisory Group recommendations or the Industry 4.0 collaboration demonstrate the ever closer linkages between both countries. The formal negotiations for a comprehensive EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement will start by the end of the year and details will be discussed at APRC.
The APRC will bring up to 1000 delegates to Perth.
Please join us for an event not to be missed which will feature global leaders in keynote speeches, conference sessions, the latest news and developments, networking and social functions, and a full partner and leisure program. Experts from Austrade and Germany Trade and Invest will be on hand to facilitate one on one meetings.
Priority areas for discussion include the following:
Our social functions will feature the best of the exciting local cuisine and wine, and our cultural program allows you to book some exciting trips over land and air to famous destination such as Rottnest Island and Margaret River.
The event will bring together a diverse mix of professionals from Germany, Australia and Asia-Pacific countries:
The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference is a unique opportunity for business, government and other leaders to support economic growth and regional partnerships. Together we will build upon the strength of the German-Australian bilateral relationship and explore the enormous trade and investment potential that our region offers. The APRC will provide a further tangible example of the enormous benefits that are realised through Australia and Germany’s close economic linkages and international collaboration, which the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce is proud to foster.
Andrew Mackenzie FRS, CEO BHP and President of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce
For those of us in Australia and around the world who thought that globalisation and the free trade push were a never-ending positive cycle, recent political developments in the United Kingdom and United States have been a wake-up call. There is no doubt that people, particularly those at the lower end of the income scale, have felt left out of globalisation and missed the benefits of free trade.
That’s reflected in the Brexit decision and in the vote for US President Donald Trump, and Australia has not been immune to levels of anti-foreign rhetoric. So if these developments are a wake-up call, what’s the take-out for leadership? There are three key things that require focus from political, business and community leaders to enable the next phase of global trade in the digital era.
1. Continue to make the case for free trade.
Australia’s prosperity as a small, open, trade-dependent economy relies on freely trading with the rest of the world in commodities and increasingly, services. While other major economies can turn inwards, especially the US with its talk of ‘America first’, that’s not in Australia’s interests.
I would argue that it’s not in US interests in the longer term either, but they’re perhaps better placed to manage in that mode for a period of time. In the latest Director Sentiment Index – a sample of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s 40,000 Directors – 57 per cent of directors are confident in business growth, despite Brexit, the Trump administration and concerns over European economies. However, directors are concerned about the shift to protectionist policies and believe government should push back against protectionism and continue to pursue free trade.
Asia will continue to be a trade focus for Australian companies, with 35% of our merchandise exports going to China and a further 40% to other Asian economies. However, there are opportunities in a free trade agreement with Europe and for one with the UK once they leave the EU. It might be the subject of an interesting debate at the conference to consider what the UK’s priorities will be once they leave the EU, and what that means for Australia. I’m also interested in the discussion around the opportunities for growing two-way trade between Australia and Germany. Is the opportunity bilateral or is it via trade with Asia?
Australia is largely a commodity exporter rather than a manufacturing exporter, but 70% of our GDP is in services, so that must be a focus for any future trade agreements. Large law firms like King & Wood Mallesons and accounting firms like PWC and KPMG demonstrate the potential for Australian firms to operate on a global basis. Where Australia has other strengths in services, including in tourism and education, it’s a matter of identifying models for sustainable expansion into Asia and globally.
2. Have a conversation about how we can get better at sharing the benefits of globalisation and free trade, and better support workers in disrupted industries.
It feels like we have entered an era of populism, whether it’s of the right or left, and whether it’s in Europe or America or Australia, there are some superficial answers being offered to very complex questions.
It’s easy to tell people that these foreign companies or someone ‘other’ than us is taking our jobs – this is much easier to understand than explaining the impact of artificial intelligence, robotics and the fourth industrial revolution. There was an industrial revolution which took away a lot of the more low-paid manual jobs but what we’re faced with now is an enormous revolution where high-paying jobs are also in danger and may disappear. The changes that are happening are global and the pace of change is rapid. Australia might have been an island in another century, but we’re not now. Unfortunately, many people have stopped listening and part of that is the income gap between the beneficiaries of globalisation and those who feel left behind. This requires serious attention and it’s also important that business, political and community leaders explain what’s happening to people’s jobs. That must be a dialogue with people, not talking down to them.
Companies do a lot of good work contributing to the community and there has been strong leadership in supporting workers to make the transition to new industries. For example, Toyota is to be commended for its investment over the past two years to retrain staff for the next phase of their careers given the company will no longer be manufacturing in Australia.
3. Ensure that companies are prepared to manage through ongoing disruption.
Markets can change quickly and we all know that whatever industry we are in, disruption is occurring, whether it’s the taxi industry being run over by Uber, the hotel industry seeing Airbnb coming at them or banking being transformed by digital platforms. There should not be a company board, whether it’s listed, government or private, saying ‘we’re fine, everything will go on as it is’. Everybody is seeing change and disruption, and seeing that ramped up. What’s essential in this kind of operating environment and what leading companies are doing, is ensuring they’ve got a diverse skill set. Gender is one part of that, but it’s also about companies experiencing change ensuring they’ve got people around the board table who’ve got experience in rapidly-changing industries, who know how to lead people through change, who understand overseas trends.
It’s also an issue if you’re a business with clients in Asia and you’ve got a board made up predominantly of white Anglo-Saxon males of a certain age. Or do you have on the board people of Asian heritage or who understand Asia, which could include people from Australia who have spent a large part of their working lives in Asia? In this regard, we’re seeing a change, but it’s still changing quite slowly. It’s one thing to go into a local market and get local advisers on board as consultants or contractors but it’s another to have people around your board table who deeply understand the markets you’re operating in.
The shifts that are happening in business at the moment are significant and they are global – and we do need to heed the wake-up calls if we’re to successfully navigate the period ahead. We haven’t reached a tipping point, but we’ve reached an interesting point and the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference will hopefully see key business leaders and politicians argue the case for both a continuation of free trade but also for all of us getting better at sharing the benefits of that trade.
Elizabeth Proust is Chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is speaking at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference as part of a panel on ‘The Future of Global Trade Agreements and the Resulting Opportunities in the Asia-Pacific.’
A November conference highlights our ties with one of the world’s leading economies
(Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann)
One of my responsibilities over the past three years has been to leverage my German-speaking background to help us broaden, deepen and strengthen our bilateral relationship with Germany.
Continuing to strengthen our bilateral relationship with Germany is very much in Australia’s interest. We are like-minded on international issues and share many core values. Germany is also the fourth-biggest economy in the world and the largest economy in the European Union. It is a substantial European political power. We hope to successfully conclude a free-trade agreement with the European Union in the not-too-distant future. Importantly, the European Union as a block remains our second- largest trading partner and our largest source of foreign direct investment.
To read the full story please follow this link.
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Australian Finance Minister, Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann, will visit Germany next week to attend the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Before and after the summit he will speak at several other occasions, including the German Asia-Pacific Business Association’s “Australia Talk”, to highlight the great opportunities that come from strengthening the ties between both countries. As patron of the upcoming Asia-Pacific-Regional Conference (APRC 2017) from November 3-5 in Perth, Australia, he will promote this unique opportunity to stakeholders from the political and business world and German media. Through the strengthening of the trade relations with Australia as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, German companies gain access to some of the fastest growing economies worldwide. The APRC 2017 offers an ideal platform for information and discussion, connecting with potential business partners and the identification of new opportunities in Australia, Germany and the Asia-Pacific region.
For easy perusal and distribution of conference details, please download any of the official promotional material below.
Download the flyer in English. (for print use only)
Download the flyer in German. (for print use only)