Release of Asia Taskforce interim report: A second chance

Business Council of Australia

Corporate task force releases interim report on what business needs to do to boost trade and investment in Asia

  • The Business Council of Australia and Asia Society Australia’s Asia Taskforce today released their interim report, A Second Chance;
  • Australian business understands the opportunities in Asia but has made relatively limited progress on building wider trade and investment and in some markets is losing ground;
  • The taskforce fast tracked the release of interim report to give Australian business tools to help recovery;
  • The report identifies eight fundamental characteristics of successful businesses in Asia and 25 recommendations for business and government to support deeper engagement in the region.

The Business Council of Australia and Asia Society’s Asia Taskforce with knowledge partners PwC Australia and the University of Sydney Business School has today released their interim report A Second Chance, providing a blueprint for deeper engagement in the region, boosting trade, living standards and building a strong economic recovery.

In response to the new challenges Australia faces as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic The Asia Taskforce has fast tracked the release of their interim report.

Taskforce Chairman and Compass Group Asia Pacific Managing Director Mark Van Dyck said:

“Australian business understands the opportunities in Asia but we have made relatively limited progress on building wider trade, and in fact in some markets we are losing ground.

“It’s critical we penetrate our existing markets in Asia more deeply. They still hold a massive opportunity for us.

“By 2030, 50 per cent of the world’s food and 40 per cent of its energy will be needed by a growing middle class of 500 million people in Asia.

“Covid19 has had a profound impact on Australia’s economy and it is hard to see how we get back to growth without greater trade. This report isn’t about the what, it is about the how. This is a playbook for how Australia can succeed in the region and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Asia Society Australia chief executive officer Philipp Ivanov said

“Australia has a chance to capitalise on Asia’s economic recovery and our own successes. Despite the economic damage of COVID-19, Asia is likely to remain the epicentre of global economic dynamism.

“Our challenges are in execution and coordinated effort. It is about maintaining trade with China while expanding to other mature and emerging markets in the region”.

Along with recommendations for government the report also provides a blueprint for Australian businesses working to succeed in Asia.

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said:

“Just as it has been for the last 30 years, Asia will continue to be crucial to Australia’s economic growth. If we get this right Australia can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic well positioned for another three decades of better living standards, new jobs and higher wages.”

“It isn’t just governments that need to adapt and change, businesses must work to understand their markets, build trusted and lasting relationships and look at new and innovative ways to embed themselves in emerging markets.

“Australia must always be an open trading nation because that’s how we can deliver the better living standards, new jobs and higher incomes Australians want.”

PwC Australia Asia Practice Leader Andrew Parker said:

“Australia has a strong reputation as a safe place to do business and as a reliable partner. COVID-19 has likely enhanced that reputation. As we enter the COVID-19 recovery phase, Australia is well positioned to help less developed neighbours. With one of the world’s largest pools of pension funds, our capabilities in technology, innovative ideas, and our concentration of talented people – we can contribute to all the key drivers of economic growth.

“A 2014 report by PwC Australia warned that the Asian opportunity was quite literally passing us by. COVID-19 has handed us a second chance to lift our economic engagement with Asia. We should not waste it.”

“Asia is different and for many, it is uncomfortably so. And while growth is never a risk-free proposition, managing that risk in Asia is possible. The Taskforce’s Interim Report sets out how.”

A Second Chance is a crucial piece of work for Australia as we grapple with the consequences of the unprecedented, rapid change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asia Taskforce’s final report will be finalised in September 2020.

Download the report here

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