Australia–China CEO Roundtable Meeting

The third meeting of the Australia–China CEO Roundtable, held today at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, has been hailed a success by co-hosts the Chairman of China Development Bank, Mr Chen Yuan, and the President of the Business Council of Australia, Mr Tony Shepherd.

The CEO Roundtable is the premier bilateral business forum between Australia and China, which brings together business leaders from both countries to discuss the possibilities of further deepening bilateral trade and investment linkages.

After the discussions, the co-chairs reported on the meeting’s key achievements and recommendations to the Vice Premier, Wang Yang, and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and their ministerial colleagues.

Mr Shepherd said “today’s discussions drove home the realisation that we can do more together to make the most of opportunities from doing business in the region – including by encouraging open and competitive markets and improving our business-to-business links.”

“Business leaders emphasised the importance of stronger cultural ties and growing knowledge, trust and understanding between our two countries to closer economic cooperation. The morning’s discussions built on a key theme on the need for closer integration with the Asian region that was central to the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.

“A particular emphasis of the discussions was China’s desire to promote the development of its trade in services, noting that the services sector will be a key driver of its national growth. With world-class strength and talent, Australia’s services companies offer China an ideal regional partnership opportunity which could be of mutual benefit to both nations.

“We had a productive discussion on the importance of foreign investment and warmly welcomed President Xi Jinping’s comments at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference that China’s overseas direct investment will reach $500 billion in the next five years,” he said.

Mr Shepherd highlighted that Chinese investment in Australia, whether a state owned enterprise or private company was welcome but that there are advantages for investors no matter what their ownership to work closely with communities in Australia.

Business leaders were greatly encouraged by the Prime Minister’s announcement in Shanghai yesterday of direct trading in the renminbi (RMB) and Australian dollar, and there was a good discussion on the benefits of the internationalisation of China’s currency.

Other issues discussed included opportunities for better cooperation in energy, mining and resources as well as the possibilities for better cooperation in agriculture.

Business leaders from both sides agreed that an ambitious Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China would be a useful mechanism to build on and cement an even stronger bilateral relationship.

Participants also noted that both China and Australia have worked hard in international forums in the past to keep markets open, and it will be important for our two countries to work closely together in 2014 when China hosts APEC and Australia hosts the G20.

We discussed the desirability of using the Australia China CEO Roundtable as a mechanism to reinforce strong business input into both the APEC and G20 processes.

Mr Shepherd paid tribute to Chairman Chen Yuan for his hospitality in hosting the Australian delegation and honoured his efforts in co-chairing all three of the Australia–China CEO Roundtables that have occurred.

Participants in the third roundtable meeting included:

Chinese participants

Mr Chen Yuan, Chairman, China Development Bank
Mr Bo Qi-Liang, President, China National Petroleum Corporation
Mr Shu Yinbiao, Chairman, State Grid Corporation of China
Mr Zhang Jijing, Chairman, CITIC Limited
Mr Tan Wangeng, Chief, China Southern Air Holding Company
Mr Zhou Zhongshu, Chairman, China Minmetals Corporation
Mr Shen Heting, President, China Metallurgical Group Corporation
Mr Zhou Zhenxing, Chairman, CGNPC Uranium Resources Co., Ltd
Mr Li Weimin, CEO, Yankuang Group Corporation Limited
Ms Sun Yafang, Chairman, Huawei
Mr WuGang, Chairman and CEO, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd
Mr Yin Jiannzhong, CEO, Shanghai Zhongfu (Group) Co Ltd
Mr Jia QingSheng, President, Heilongjiang Feng Ao Development Co. Ltd

Australian participants

Mr Anthony Shepherd AO, President, Business Council of Australia
Mrs Gail Kelly, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Westpac Group
Mr Michael Smith OBE, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ
Ms Catherine Tanna, Chairman BG Australia, BG Group
Mr David Peever, Managing Director, Rio Tinto Australia
Mr Neville Power, Chief Executive Officer, Fortescue Metals Group Limited
Mr Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer, Qantas Airways Limited
Dr Ian Thomas, President, Boeing Australia and South Pacific
Mr John W. H. Denton, Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Mr John Macfarlane, Executive Chairman and Chief Country Officer, Australia and New Zealand, Deutsche Bank AG
Mr Tony Cripps, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Bank Australia Limited
Mr Ross Love, Managing Partner, Australia & New Zealand, The Boston Consulting Group
Mr Didier Mahout, Chief Executive Officer, Australia and New Zealand, BNP Paribas

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128