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Business heavyweights discuss improving Aust-UK trade

06 July, 2009

Australian and British business leaders will met in London recently to discuss ways of maximising the strong relationships between the two nations.

Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner for the UK, Kylie Hargreaves, said the CPA Australia CEO Forum,  (part of the G’day UK program) provided a whole-of-government platform to annually engage UK and Australian industry leaders in a meaningful exchange of ideas and hopefully, the development of new commercial connections.

“Industry leaders from both markets and across all disciplines are involved in G'day UK, from major Australian corporates like Westfield, Lend Lease, Ramsay Health, Telstra, Macquarie to UK and other global businesses such as British Gas, International Power,  Selfridges,  Royal Mail, Climate Change Capital and many others,” said Hargreaves.

“Discussions will be focused on four key areas- financial services, resources/foreign direct investment (FDI), climate change and 2012 & Beyond.

“This engagement is important for both nations with the UK one of our most significant trade and investment partners in Europe. It is also our second largest source of FDI and accounts for over 15% of all FDI into Australia.”

“British businesses have traditionally viewed Australia as an attractive base for regional operations and have invested in infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, energy and travel industries. Approximately a third of all regional headquarters in Australia are European, and of these almost half are British. Major UK investors in Australia include Shell, BP, British Aerospace, BT, Cadbury, Vodafone and Xstrata.

“But importantly in a two-way relationship, Australians are investing heavily into the UK too, creating jobs, economic wealth and new intellectual property. In 2008, the UK was our second largest destination for Australian foreign investment stock (A$158 billion (up almost 16% on 2007) and more than 1,500 Australian companies have some form of presence in the UK.’

London is the headquarters of one third of the world’s largest companies and is fast-becoming the preferred international headquarters for Asian companies seeking a global reach. Of Australia’s Global 100, more companies have a presence in London than any other city or urban area in the world and many use their locations there to manage their European, Middle East, African and even North American operations.

“This inaugural G’day UK CEO Forum was a great step towards cementing the strong economic, political and thought-leadership ties between Australian and the UK,” said Hargreaves.

“It was also be a great opportunity for UK and Australian firms to share thoughts and experiences around key trends in the global economy, UK market drivers such as the Olympics, and the strategic advantages of establishing operation in each others markets.”

G’day UK 2009 is supported by the New South Wales, Queensland, Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian State Governments, Austrade, Qantas and Tourism Australia in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wine Australia, Australian Business and key private sector sponsors.

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