The Business Council of Australia said the development of a white paper on Australia in the Asian Century provided important and timely impetus for strengthening our economic, strategic, diplomatic and cultural links with Asia.
BCA President Graham Bradley welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister, saying it reinforced the value of having governments and business working together to develop Australia’s ties with the nations of Asia.
“Business leaders across the region understand that engagement must be broadly based,” Mr Bradley said. “Our economic ties play a fundamental role in strengthening relationships between nations.”
Mr Bradley said that, more than ever before, the competitiveness of Australian industries depended on our ability to make the most of economic opportunities from all forms of commercial engagement with the nations of Asia.
“Our economic links are underpinned by investment, and there are many important opportunities for increasing two-way investment flows between Australia and Asia,” he said.
“Realising these opportunities depends on our capacity to overcome substantial challenges, including regulations that restrict investment and commerce. This involves effective collaboration between governments and business to build mutual understanding between Australia and our partners in Asia.
“A further challenge is to make sure Australian businesses have the capabilities needed to do business in Asia, and this involves developing the cross-cultural knowledge and skills of our people.”
Mr Bradley said the development of the white paper coincided with a major project being undertaken by the BCA on Australia’s economic opportunities in Asia, in particular in China.
“We understand that BCA members will be involved in the development of the Australia in the Asian Century white paper, and the council will give a high priority to supporting and contributing to the process overall,” Mr Bradley said.