Dear members and friends,
ATBC teamwork with Australian governments — getting it right at the federal level
The ATBC has always placed a high value on teamwork with Australian and Taiwan governments.
On Monday next week, 30 April, I’ll be leading a small ATBC delegation for discussions in Canberra with the Hon Craig Emerson MP, Minister for Trade. We’ll also be seeing officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET). At DFAT we will be talking to the Australia China Council about possible funding for ATBC events and activities. At RET we will be encouraging officials to time the joint consultations on minerals and energy trade and investment to coincide with the 26th Joint Conference of ATBC and ROCABC, to be held in Taiwan in the second half of the year.
We’ll be encouraging Minister Emerson to continue his strong support for the ATBC, if possible, by visiting Taiwan to speak at the 26th Joint Conference.We’ll also be making business representations to him on behalf several ATBC members and making some suggestions about new ways to strengthen business with Taiwan.
We are pleased that federal government ministers recognize the contribution the ATBC makes to Australia-Taiwan relations. In response to ATBC representations, the Hon Martin Ferguson MP, Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism, took part as keynote speaker at the 18th World Congress of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce (18th WTCC) , 15 April, Sydney. During the course of that event, he assured us he would continue his efforts to foster LNG and other resource sector business with Taiwan. We expect he will look for an opportunity later in the year to make another visit to Taiwan, perhaps in conjunction with our Joint Conference.
On behalf of members, I’ve written to Senator the Hon Bob Carr, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, congratulating him on his appointment and offering to share with him the ATBC’s unparalleled Taiwan access and insights.
I’ve also invited the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Shadow Minister for Trade, to address another one of our business luncheons. Members may recall her excellent presentation at an ATBC business event in October 2009. Ms Bishop has accepted my invitation. Not only that, but in her masterly address on Australia-Taiwan economic and other relations at the 18th WTTC, she said that, when the Coalition forms government, she intends to visit Taiwan. Of course the likelihood of such a visit would increase if she were to hold a portfolio other than Foreign Affairs.
We have begun work on an ATBC submission to the ‘bilateral economic consultations’ (BEC) to be held in Canberra probably in June. Members having matters of policy or practical issues in business dealings with Taiwan government agencies or companies should let the Secretariat Manager know in good time, so that we can make sure our BEC submission is as comprehensive and compelling as possible. As in previous years, I have been invited to present business views at the BEC, to be chaired on the Australian side by a deputy secretary of DFAT and on the Taiwan side by a vice minister for economic affairs.
ATBC teamwork with Australian governments — state level and local levels are important too
We’ve written to the new Premier of Queensland, the Hon Campbell Newman MP, offering congratulations. While he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Mr Newman showed great interest in the local Taiwan migrant community and offered support for the ATBC, including hospitality to business visitors from Taiwan. I have also been to see the Hon Tim Nicholls MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade, explaining the close relationship the ATBC has enjoyed with previous Queensland state governments and offering our support for his efforts to promote the state’s commercial interests in Taiwan.
Some members might recall that the Hon Ros Bates MP, now Queensland Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, was a member of an extremely successful ATBC Women Entrepreneur Mission to Taiwan in the early 2000s. I’ve been in touch with Ros, encouraging her to renew her interest in Taiwan and to take part in ATBC events in Brisbane.
We have agreed to work with the Office of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane to promote a seminar on business opportunities in Taiwan ‘From Kaohsiung to Taipei’, to be held in Brisbane in the second half of May. Brisbane has a sister city relationship with Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung is hosting the 2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit — a major biannual event started by Brisbane. The Mayor of Kaohsiung, Ms Chen Chu, is likely to make a preparatory visit to Brisbane later this year.
New members of the ATBC Executive Committee
I am delighted that ANZ has nominated Ms Catherine McDowell, Managing Director, Private Banking, New Zealand and Australia, to replace the Hon Warwick Smith AM as a member of the ATBC Executive Committee. Catherine’s impressive CV includes periods with Barclays Capital in New York, as Director of Barclays Private Banking and Managing Director of Barclays International Division. Welcome Catherine! Thank you, Warwick, for your long and valuable contribution to ATBC!
I have also co-opted Mr Anker Hung, Minatek Pty Ltd to the Executive Committee. Before moving to Melbourne, Mr Hung was a successful businessman in Taiwan and China. For the past two or three years, Mr Hung has been an enthusiastic member of the ATBC, contributing strongly with advice and business introductions.
There are now three successful Taiwan business migrants on our Executive Committee
New STC for Taipei
Mr Martin Walsh, now Senior Trade Commissioner at Taipei, will move to Taipei in July this year, replacing the ATBC’s good friend Yvonne Chan. Martin’s career included an earlier posting at Taipei, since which he has served in several other Asian cities. While he is in Australia briefing for his Taiwan mission, the ATBC invite him to join us at business luncheons in Sydney and other cities. ATBC events
Clayton Utz and the ATBC will host a boardroom lunch in Brisbane on Friday 25th May. Taiwan Representative at Canberra, Ambassador Katharine Chang and Mr Rowan Callick, Asia Pacific Editor, The Australian, have accepted invitations to be guests of honour and speakers at this event. We’ve also invited the Hon Tim Nicholls MP, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade.
Macquarie Group have offered to host this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and celebratory business lunch at their Sydney boardroom on Wednesday 20th June. It will be the thirteenth consecutive ATBC AGM hosted by Macquarie. We thank them for their continuing support and generous hospitality, which means a great deal to us.
The 26th Joint Conference of ATBC and ROCABC will be held in Taiwan in the second half of the year. We are working with Chairman Edward Chen of ATBC and Australian and Taiwan governments to find the best possible date for the Conference.
Taiwan economics and politics
Taiwan’s economic growth rate appears to have dipped below four percent, but the consensus is for growth to strengthen in the third quarter of 2012.
There have been few significant political events that need concern Australian business. The opposition DPP is still wrestling with the reform of its China policy. That debate is being conducted in the context of the contest for the chairmanship of the DPP.
In cross strait relations, there have been few events of note. As we predicted before Taiwan’s January presidential election, there have been signs that China is searching for ways to engage more directly with the KMT on political issues. But given China’s communist party’s preoccupation with divisions andtensions at the most senior levels, its focus on Taiwan may not be sharp, at least until later in the year, when the new generation of leaders takes over from President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, offering some respite for Taiwan’s leaders.
26 April 2012