ExpatGo had a chat with the Australia Business Council chairman about the upcoming Australia Business Asia Regional Conference that will be held this November.
The conference is an initiative by the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) to bring people together from the 17 Australian business chambers in Asia known as Australian Business Asia, which MABC now chairs. Chairman Leigh Howard wanted to create an environment where Australian companies could come together and take advantage of the opportunities on offer here. The conference is also aimed at redefining the current business relationship between Australia and Asia.
This platform, according to Howard, will present the opportunity for businesses to expand in Asia while also bringing together interlocutors so that business development persons can engage with chambers and their members who are looking to facilitate trade and investments in one location.
Stressing the role of Malaysia in the future, Howard explains; “MABC sees chairmanship [of Australia Business Asia] as a springboard to greater Australian engagement in the region, we are proud to be the chair of such an important grouping, and, as we have seen with Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN, a lot can be done to draw attention to opportunities in Malaysia for companies looking to expand into Asia”
A recent study by the Australian government found that most Australian companies prefer Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore as countries in which to establish their operations in ASEAN, a trend that is predicted to continue in the next few years thanks to ASEAN Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), which has set the groundwork for business collaborations.
“Australia has very strong country branding that many Australian companies are not taking advantage for business growth in the region, the challenge for many looking to Asia is how to establish the key relationships. A strategy that we are asking companies to consider is allied export strategy, meaning if you are currently supplying a product or service to a leading company in Australia then you should look at supplying to them in Asia. We call on the Australian government to facilitate these types of relationships especially for SMEs.”
Howard explains that they see potential growth as the integration of supply chains between Australia and Asia continues on the back of a maturing regional economic architecture. He gives the example of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which has “started to break down barriers and improve regional business collaboration.” He stresses, “this makes groupings like the ABA and this conference more important for Australian business looking to expand in the region.”
In terms of investments based on figures released by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, it is shown that the regional economic integration is not all one way traffic. Asia is a key investor in the Australian economy with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Japan, China, Singapore and the ASEAN 10, marked at over 191.3 Billion Australian Dollars in 2015.
When asked to comment on next steps and looking at factors effecting mutual economic growth, Leigh stated “these trends are already affecting most industries in Australia, and we have created this event to allow Australian and Asia’s business leaders to get ahead of the curve by linking them with like-minded business people in Asia.”
The Australia Business Asia Regional Conference will take place in KL Convention Centre on 9th to 11th November 2016. Find out more at ausbizasia.com
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