Britain - Open for Business

Congratulations to Consul General Nick McInnes and all the team for an excellent launch of the BBN with Lord Livingston last night.

But what happens next? Is this another excuse to have a drink with like minded people, to talk about the footy and to thank our lucky stars that it is warmer here in winter than the UK in summer, OR, will there be growth in bi-lateral trade and investment as a consequence of this group.

On the assumption it is the latter, I would be interested to discuss the framework around which further growth can be achieved. 

ICAEW research shows the government will miss its target of £1 trillion in exports by 2020. Without addressing this part of the economy, the UK is likely to experience another balance of payments problem. The ICAEW suggests we need a step change in the support provided by UKTI and UK Export Finance. For example, export guarantees are currently under-used and mainly serve a few big businesses. Their election manifesto suggests a future government should adopt a more segmented export strategy to reach businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. 

Here in Australia, Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will promote the Australian government’s strong pro-investment agenda to some of the world’s leading CEOs this weekend.

Mr Robb will chair the Australian Investment Forum, following the B20 Summit of business leaders and prior to the G20 meeting of Trade Ministers.

Leading executives from the US, UK, Japan, China, Singapore, India, Europe and the Middle East will attend the Forum, organised by Austrade to bring together companies with significant existing or potential investments in Australia.

“Australia’s hosting of the G20 Trade Ministers and Business 20 Summit has provided the opportunity to bring together the CEOs of the world’s major corporations and the Forum seeks to capitalise on that moment,” Mr Robb said.

The Minister said he was confident the CEOs would be receptive to the fact that Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy, growing for 23 years now and that we have a long tradition of welcoming foreign investment.

“We have a very compelling story to tell the world supported by this government’s strong domestic reform agenda that is pro-investment,” Mr Robb said.

“This includes getting rid of destructive taxes such as the carbon and mining tax, serious attacks on red and green tape, repairing the Federal Budget, the streamlining of approval processes for major projects, the reform of the construction and shipping industries to enhance productivity and record levels of infrastructure investment.”

Mr Robb said since coming to office he had conducted 37 major investment roundtables in 14 countries promoting Australia to investors and fund managers representing trillions-of-dollars.

“This Forum will provide a high-level opportunity to demonstrate what we are doing to make Australia the most attractive destination possible.

“As a country we are focussed on backing our strengths, the things we do as well as any and better than most. Areas including resources and energy, agriculture, tourism, education, health and medical research along with a pipeline of core infrastructure projects present strong prospects for international investors,” he said.

Mr Robb will also chair a roundtable on investing in tourism infrastructure. Three other roundtables will focus on other national investment priorities, including food and agribusiness, resources and energy and major infrastructure.

He will be joined at the Forum by other Federal ministers, including Treasurer Joe Hockey, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs.

Ministers from the states and territories have also been invited.

SO WHAT ARE WE ABLE TO DO THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE?....or do we just keep talking about the footy :)