Speaker’s Corner: Mr Graeme Meehan

The second Asia Business Centre ‘Speaker’s Corner’ event was held on Monday 25 May 2015. The visiting speaker, Mr Graeme Meehan, Australia’s Consul-General in China, consulted with Curtin University staff in order to gauge the opportunities and challenges that Australian businesses face when doing business in Shanghai and eastern China.

Shanghai is one of the largest commercial and financial centres in the Asia-Pacific region and is part of the region that accounts for about one third of Australia’s total trade with China. The Consulate-General in Shanghai covers five provinces, with a combined population of over 320 million, offering significant trade and investment opportunities for Australian business. The district is home to a large and growing Australian expatriate community.

The roundtable discussion highlighted a range of issues such as the impact of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the state of the Chinese and Australian economies, China’s influence in the area and the role of the Consul-General. Mr Meehan has been recently appointed to the position by the Honourable Julie Bishop and is expected to take up the appointment in June 2015.

Asia Insight – The effects of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Curtin Business School’s inaugural Asia Insight Event occurred on 18 March 2015 which discussed “The effects of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement on the State’s businesses, Opportunities for mining, agriculture, education and other sectors.”

Dr Huang Qinguo, Chinese Consul-General to Western Australia opened the proceedings and said ‘China’s economy is still one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with GDP ballooning at 7.4%, despite reports of China’s contracting economy.”

The key note speaker Dr Andrew Crane, Chief Executive Officer, CBH Group, provided his insight on the effects of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) highlighting that “the FTA may not expand our potential pool of consumers but will allow local farmers to tap into higher-margin markets.”

“Contrary to popular opinion Australia did not have unlimited capacity to feed Asia” Dr Crane said.

Following the speeches by Dr Qinguo and Dr Crane a discussion occurred which was led by a panel featuring Dr Andrew Crane, Chief Executive Officer, CBH Group, Dr David Sun, Managing Director, SinoSteel Australia, Professor Deborah Terry, Vice-Chancellor, Curtin University, Mr Ben Wyatt, Member for Victoria Park and Asia Business Centre Advisory Board member and Mr Gareth Parker, State Political Editor, The West Australian.

The event was well received and included 300 plus attendees ranging from the Industry, University and Government sectors. The second Asia Insight Event is scheduled for September/October 2015.