31 Jan

CEO Report - January 2018

2018 is going to be another GREAT year for the Australian British Chamber of Commerce. Following on from a successful 2017, the Chamber is in line for another record year of opportunities presented to our Members.

2017 saw the Chamber host over 120 events across Australia as well as lead two delegations to the UK, one focussing on financial services, in particular Fintech and cyber security, and the second on infrastructure.

Over 6,500 people attended events ranging from small boardroom lunches of 15, through to our marquee breakfast, lunch and dinner events. Intermingled with this programme were seminars, evening networking events and formal receptions for visitors. Speakers for our boardroom series included the likes of The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Her Excellency Menna Rawlings CMG, British High Commissioner to Australia and Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia to name but a few.

One of the highlights of the year was the dinner we co-hosted with the British Government for The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP Secretary of State for International Trade. Against the magnificent backdrop of Sydney Harbour, it was a truly memorable night. The theme of the event was “GREAT for Collaboration” and that event was certainly testament to that sentiment.

Although last year was a significant year for many reasons, the Chamber has not rested on our laurels. The first quarter of this year will see events including a visit from the Lord Mayor of the City of London in Sydney and Melbourne in February; our International Women’s Day events focussing on women in technology and Fintech; a cyber security event in Perth; The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence Industry in Adelaide; and the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane to name but a few.

There are many movements in the Australian British relationship. Early this year Prime Minister, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull, announced that The Hon George Brandis QC will replace The Hon Alexander Downer AC as Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK. The High Commissioner Designate has agreed to meet with Chamber Members in his pre-posting briefing period. This will provide our Membership the opportunity to share views on the current and emerging potential future relationship as the UK looks to leave the European Union.

This year will continue to provide opportunities for Australia in furthering access to markets through Free Trade Agreements. Already the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, has been involved in gaining the support for the TPP. Importantly for the Australian British context, Australia and the European Union will commence formal negotiations in the near future. This will, along with the Brexit discussions between the UK and EU, provide a clearer context of what may be achievable in a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the UK, when the UK is able to do so.

The Chamber is continuing to expand out bilateral engagements, with three delegations this year. Our Fintech and Cyber security Catalyst will head to London from the 3rd to 5th of July. We will welcome an Infrastructure Catalyst delegation to Australia between the 9th and 11th of October, continuing the Chamber’s leading role in cross-border exchange on best practice. Additionally we will be including a Health and Aged Care Catalyst which will head to the UK between the 20th and 22nd of November.

The Chamber continues to welcome input from our Sponsors and Members in relation to our engagement with Government around the Brexit and Future Free Trade opportunities, including through submissions to both the House of Commons in the UK and the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. We will conduct our second annual business survey in Q2 to continue to understand the broad dynamics of the relationship. We welcome your input via email at policy@britishchamber.com.

I hope that 2018 is a GREAT year for your business and I look forward to seeing you at one of our many events.

 

David McCredie

Chief Executive

Australian British Chamber of Commerce

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