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ALABC's monthly newsletter, "Latam News," keeps members and supporters abreast of developments taking place in the Latin American markets. Locked articles can be read by paid ALABC members, including Individual, SME, Corporate and Patron.

Chairman's Message

In today’s era of almost instant news and increasingly connected global markets, it never ceases  to  amaze  me  how  little  coverage the  markets of  Latin  America receive  in  the Australian media. When was the last time that you read some insightful article about the business activity in the region  - particularly one authored by an Australian journalist -  or saw a locally-made television program providing an in-depth analysis of issues impacting upon business in the region?

Perhaps a small exception could be made for coverage of the region’s mining sector, which is the primary sector connecting Australia with Latin America, but even there, much more could be said and is warranted. Beyond mining, there are compelling reasons why the region should figure much more prominently in our media and in our thinking.

Just to refresh our memory, let’s list some of the region’s key attributes, including the fact that it occupies some 14% of the earth’s land surface area, has a population estimated at more than 590 million and a GDP in excess of USD 5 trillion; has 25% of the world’s arable land (including 32% of the unused land suitable for farming), has 20% of the world’s fresh water and over 10% of the world’s oil reserves, not to mention that it generates 10% of global agricultural exports, producing over 50% of the world’s soybean exports, over 33% of the world’s corn and 44% of the world’s beef. It also consistently captures 25% of the annual global mining exploration spend.

With those credentials, can there be any doubt that Australia simply cannot afford to ignore the region or to fail in deepening its business relationship with Latin America? It may not enjoy the geographic proximity or growth rates of the Asian markets, nor be as complementary for the Australian economy as the markets of Asia, but it is increasingly relevant to Australia  and holds extensive and worthwhile opportunities that our companies are well-positioned to exploit.

Failure to embrace Latin America adequately will mean that Australia will forgo opportunities that are there for the taking and will result in other nations enhancing their competitive prospects at our expense. We need to understand the growing links between Latin America and Asia, and to appreciate that they can impact upon Australia. We need to be far more engaged with the region, far more creative in our thinking and much more assertive in our action. And we need to act quickly.

What media coverage there  is,  tends to be dominated by  commentators and analysts from overseas, who in turn lack an understanding of the particular perspectives that Australia needs to take when evaluating developments in Latin America. It a lso tends to be relatively superficial and lacking the hard-hitting analysis that is required if Australian business is to successfully identify the opportunities on offer and the strategies that need to be implemented to ensure a successful entry into the regi on. Current reporting tends to focus on the ‘black and white’ extremes, but to lack the subtle investigation of the far larger grey areas.

Which of our peak business organisations are actively monitoring Latin America and promoting the region? Which local think ta nk is producing comprehensive analysis of how Australia can engage and profit from Latin America? Apart from Austrade’s former chief economist, Tim Harcourt, which local economists are sufficiently knowledgeable about Latin America and actively presenting on the region? Who are the local opinion shapers and creative thinkers who have the requisite knowledge of Latin America to be advocating why and how we should be embracing the region?

Despite these laments, the picture is not entirely bleak. Far too much does remain to be done, but we can draw encouragement from the gains that are being made.

A growing number of Australian companies are going to the region, with an increasing number of them being from outside the mining sector. Furthermore, a growing number of our world-class universities are expanding their links with counterparts in the region and with the companies that are active in the region. The pool of talented graduates and executives that have combined Australian-Latin American experience is growing and they will bring about enhanced trade and investment flows between the markets. Beyond business and academia, other links are being built and expanded, including in the areas of sport, the arts, t ourism and many more. All will yield positive dividends.

To facilitate this process, we need to ensure that all stakeholders interested in the Australia-Latin America relationship play their part and make their voices heard. As we approach 2014   - the year when this Council celebrates the 25th  anniversary of its founding - give some thought to what YOU can do to help build the relationship between Australia and Latin America.

Jose Blanco, Chairman

Please click here to download a copy of the speech given by H.E. Ms Penelope Wensley AC, The Governor of Queensland, at the Australia Latin America Business Excellence Awards and Brisbane Annual Dinner, 31 October 2013, at Customs House in Brisbane.  Sponsored by  Sign-in to read

In November's LATAM News: 2013 Latin America Award Winners Aerolineas Argentinas to depart Australia Australia showcased in Buenos Aires Setback for Origin Energy and Glencore Networking in Lima Australian Pavilion wins best at Extemin Chairman's Message Brisbane Dinner Report 2nd Australia-Latin Ameri... Sign-in to read


Canberra Networking Day - Address by H.E Ambassador Pedro Pablo Villagra-Delgado

Address by H.E. Ambassador Pedro Villagra-Delgado to the ALABC 2013 Heads of Mission Networking Day Parliament House, Canberra  - November 26, 2013

Download the PDF version here

At the outset I would like, on behalf of all my colleagues, the heads of mission of the Latin American countries accredited to Australia, to thank ALABC and particularly its Chairman, José Blanco, for organizing this event of great importance to establish a substantive link between the stakeholders in the relations with our region, including the Embassies, and the new Australian Government.   This is a most timely initiative and we commend ALABC for it. ALABC has played a crucial role in the development of better and deeper economic relations between Australia and Latin America over the years and it is good to see that it will continue to do so. The participation of Ministers with portfolios crucial for relationships with our region is most welcome and an encouraging sign towards the strengthening and broadening of Australia links with our countries.

Our thanks go also to COALAR, represented by its Chair, Chris Gale, another strong advocate for Australian relations with Latin America, the new members of the Board, our colleagues from DFAT, led by Brendon Hammer, Richard Neumann and his team, the speakers who will lead us in the discussions which we will have today.

We are honored by having the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, opening this event. The Latin American group of heads of mission has established a close working relationship with Ms. Bishop over several years and we acknowledge that her doors have always been open to us as a group or as individual countries when we have needed her, be that in her capacity as Shadow Foreign Minister and Deputy Leader of the opposition in the last few years or, for those who like me have been a long time in Australia, in her previous capacity as Minister for Education, Science and Training. Working with her has always been a privilege for the substance of the matters discussed and a pleasure for her kindness and good natured spirit. We pledge our best endeavors to ensure that this good working relation will continue and indeed expand for the mutual benefit of Australia and all of our countries. The message that she will deliver to us today will be of great importance for our work.

We also look forward to the presentation that the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon. Andrew Robb MP will make this afternoon. The two areas of his portfolio are at the center of the relationship with our region and of our mutual interests with Australia. Trade and investment between our countries and yours has been steadily increasing but more, much more could and should be done. The scope for growth is there and we should all work together to make sure it happens.

We have to remember that it was under the previous coalition government that a study on Latin America was conducted and from its recommendations the creation of the Council on Australian Latin American Relations (COALAR), was decided. The fact that COALAR grew and became a consolidated platform for engagement with our region under the labor government is proof that it is part of a policy which transcends the differences in approach of the two major Australian parties.   COALAR brings to the equation a wide range of fields where relations have grown, from culture to education, from tourism to economy, and has proved to be a very useful tool for engaging with our region. The support it lends to the Latin American Film Festival is proof of that and we all appreciate it. With a relatively small budget it has done great things and we hope that under the new government COALAR will be stronger and continue to thrive.

Latin America is a very diverse region not only because each country has its distinctive traits but also because regions within each country have their own. At the same time, our countries have an essential and deep commonality, shared agendas in a wide spectrum of issues, face similar challenges and a sense of common culture and history. The integration processes which link several of our countries have their own characteristics each responding to the priorities and objectives of their member States. They constitute a variable geometry of agreements, as some countries are associated to more than one of them. This creates also different platforms for engaging with our region.

That diversity and varied geometry with unity and common elements represents an area of about 21 million square kilometres, almost 600 million people, with a GDP of about U$S 6 .8 trillion, with vast riches in natural resources be minerals, energy, agriculture or fisheries but also sophisticated technology, services and culture. From the planes you board when you flight Virgin Australia or the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, to Nobel winners in hard sciences, literature or peace. The exhibition of the Gold of the Incas to be opened in just a few days at the National Gallery of Australia is an outstanding example of the culture of our region. Having Robyn Archer in the Board of COALAR bodes well for a deeper cultural engagement with our region.

It is a region that has withstood well the GFC, like Australia, with its economy growing even in the most difficult periods of the crisis, exports increasing to reach U$S 793 billion in 2012, almost half of those in manufactured products and many on the high tech niche. FDI has been steadily increasing and the ratio of servicing public debt to GDP steadily declining. The reason why the region did relatively well during the crisis is because there were a diversification of production and exports in the Americas in the last two decades, which converted our countries in global traders, thus benefiting from the increased demand in Asian markets which gave sustainability to growth and, at the s ame time, keeping our traditional markets well served. It is not just that our share of trade with Asia has grown but that it has done so without reducing the volumes exported to our traditional markets. Simply, our exports have increased several fold in the last few years and, at the same time, our internal markets have also grown. We have also significantly diversified our markets. Asian ones increased three fold in about a decade and are now about 19%, trade with our own region is slightly larger. Trade  with the European Union had a small growth in percentage points, and that with the rest of the world (Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Oceania, reached 11 in 2012).

As happens with any other region of the world today and Australia is by no means and exception, China played an essential role in this picture of improvements in both in exports and imports from and to Latin America. In the last decade exports to China grew by around 40% and exports from that country by about 25%.

The importance of these figures is that our region has managed for the most part to have a diversified trade pattern and we do no longer depend on one or two customers or on one or two goods. The case of Argentina could illustrate this as 2012 was one of the best ever for Argentine exports to Australia and one of the highest figures for trade between our two countries ever.

But one of the features we are most proud in Latin America in the last decade has been a substantial reduction  in  poverty  levels.  That  is  both  good  policy  and  fair  policy  at  the  same  time.  We  have  solid democratic societies, highly politicized and conscious of the importance of keeping our freedoms and that this must be accompanied by social justice and a better distribution of income. Poverty and inequality have substantially declined and social indicators significantly improved, including gender equality, education at all levels, including access to university, and political participation.

Opportunities to increase trade, investment  and other forms of exchanges between  Australia and Latin America are plentiful. But we have traditionally looked to other shores rather than to each other. We both considered the other far away geographically and in the case of some of us, like my own coun try, competitors.

Australia has its priorities in the Asia-Pacific region, as it should. We could say that our region also gives priority to our neighbours, but we also look to Asia as anybody else does today. But it is not a matter of  either-or. We are convinced that  the growth and prosperity of  Asia  is not  incompatible with paying attention to other regions as well. We are interested in Australia and are convinced that much more could be done with this country in a vast number of fields. We also think th at Australia should look more to Latin America  for  mutually  beneficial  opportunities  which  are  waiting  to  be  tapped.  Trade  and  investment between the two regions have been growing, but the pace should and could increase significantly.

A variety of areas offer good opportunities, such as mining, agriculture, education, energy, infrastructure, biotechnology, tourism, specific areas of scientific research, events organization, sports (provided you do not become too good at soccer  but we become better at rugby ), food security, urban design and planning. Many others could also be identified. One area where Australia excels is in the quality and  processes  of  its  public  service.  This  is  a  sector  where  we  could  benefit  from  your  experience  and expertise.

Agriculture and the high technologies involved in it nowadays is an area where Australia and Latin America can share experiences as in both sides we find examples of the most advanced research put into application in the fields for producing more and better food to feed the growing demand from an increased and more demanding population in the decades to come. Countries like my own have increased dramatically the yield of our crops in the last couple of decades by using biotechnology and better farming methods.

We have traditionally competed with Australia but the logic today is different. The demand will continue being high as improvement in the quality of life of hundreds of millions of people around the world will seek better nutrition and we all have the duty to satisfy that demand. We can share best practices and legitimately benefit from that need for more food. That means that even if we are competitors, we still have plenty of room for cooperation in ensuring that our best technologies and best practices coalesce to bring to the world the foodstuff that it needs and that will much more desperately need in the years and decades to come.

Education has been one of the cornerstones of the relations between Latin America and Australia and the excellent relations established with universities in this country is something we value specially. Some universities in this country have a devoted program of engagement with our region which is commendable. At the risk of being undiplomatic I must mention in this c ontext the University of Queensland which is an outstanding example of this. It is not by coincidence that the previous Vice -Chancellor for International Matters at UQ, Dr. Anna Ciccarelli, has joined the board of COALAR. We are delighted and we know and value her commitment to Latin America. We thank also Alan Lawson with us today.

People to people contacts should also be promoted as they may constitute the future backbone of long term relations between Australia and our region. Exchanges in which not only Latin American students and visitors come to Australia but also that Australians go to spend time in our region can go a long way in fostering strong and durable links.

We have seen with interest the new Colombo Plan  in reverse,  by which the possibility  for young Australians to study and spend time in Asia will be promoted to create a reciprocity link to the one that already  exists  between  thousands  of  young  Asians  doing  just  that  in  Australia.  Why  not  include  Latin America in this program? It could star t with a pilot program and it could serve well both this country and our region. It could also include Australian teachers.

The number of Latin American students coming to Australia has been increasing significantly in the last few years. They represent a good source of income to the Australian education system. However, the number of Australians studying in our region  is negligible. There is an imbalance there which should be addressed.

Teaching of our languages can contribute a great deal towards that g oal. There are several programs for the teaching of Spanish in Australian universities but much more needs to be done, particularly at the primary and secondary level of education. The number of countries and peoples speaking Spanish in the world, including around 50 million in the US, justify nothing less. Portuguese courses have also started in some universities and we welcome that development .

There  have  been  advances  in  facilitating  electronic  visas  for  some  of  our  nationals  and  working - holidays visas programs with some of our countries. Further simplification on these matters will surely help to  increase people to  people contacts and therefore mutual knowledge about each other. It should be promoted.

In this context let me pay homage to the thousands of immigrants from Latin America which came to Australia and were generously received and have contributed to the growth of prosperity of this country, becoming  proud  true  blue  aussies  and  at  the  same  time   keeping  their  Latin  American  hearts  and connexions, not only them but also their Australian off spring. They are the best example of the good things which can be achieved by fostering people to people links.

Political engagement is also crucial. High lev el visits can go a long way to forge and expand relations between countries. Prime Minister Abbott, Ministers Bishop and Robb, as well as others will be more than welcome and we hope they will able to visit the region. In the past, Australian Prime Ministers have travel to the region only in the context of multilateral meetings, taking advantage of conducting bilateral visits while there. I understand that the only exception to this pattern was a visit by Prime Minister Whitlam to Perú in 1975. The establishment of personal contacts at high level is important to create trust, familiarity and to advance the positive agenda that exists between Australia and Latin America. We should keep in mind that besides offering a promising economic agenda, Latin America is a region of peace, with vibrant democracies, committed to the promotion and upholding of human rights and fundamental freedoms, non - proliferation and the rule of law in international relations.  There is a wide agenda where commonalities with Australia are many as we have seeing at the United Nations, the Cairns Group, APEC, G -20 and its outreach activities, and so many fora where we have traditionally worked very well together. Th ere is a common ground that should be paid more attention to.

The role and importance of the States in the Australian political and economic structure is another factor  that  we  Latin  Americans  acknowledge  and  that  is  why  we  have  engaged  with  the  different jurisdictions of the federation both collectively and bilatera lly. We appreciate the warm response that we have received over the years in various States. Queensland and Victoria have a particular engagement with our region, even having trade commissioner devoted specially to it . Queensland has them based in Chile and Brazil. We just had a very successful Colloquium in Brisbane at the end of October, an event which UQ organizes every year since 2007 , and very productive meetings with the Queensland Government, including its Treasurer. Rob Whiddon, and his  team from Trade Queensland and represented today by Stephen Biggs , have played a crucial role in this engagement with the State over the years. We thank you very much for it. We have also had good contacts with New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.  We are planning to organize seminars on our region in universities in these States in 2014. The participation of Ministers and of colleagues from DFAT in these events will be most welcome. The coordination of these activities with those of ALABC in the States has proved to be a winner for both and we hope it will continue.

Both Australia and Latin America have gained in importance since 2000, the year that the study on the region was conducted and which led to COALAR. Perhaps it is time to conduct a new  study, a sort of White Paper, which could indicate where are we in the relationship and where we should and could go. It could help setting benchmarks and signposts to move forward.

I look forward to the discussions and I am sure that they will identify new concrete actions to take in the next few months. Me and my colleagues are ready to join in the fray and pitch our own ideas, both from the collective and country specifics point of view.

Thank you


MEDIA RELEASE: Trading Nation - Advancing Australia's interests in world markets

Media Release 27 November 2013.

A new book written by three former senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officers  - Mike Adams, Nicolas Brown and Ron Wickes -  examines the history of Australia’s trade since Federation and identifies the reforms that Australia must make to remain a competitive twenty-first century economy.

The book, titled ‘Trading Nation – Advancing Australia’s interests in world markets’, was launched in Sydney on November 27 by the Hon Mr Andrew Robb AO MP, Minister for Trade and Investment.

One of the key recommendations of the book is that ‘While Australia’s economic future lies predominantly in Asia, a long hard look is needed at how the countries of Latin America are changing their region and the rest of the world as markets, competitors and shapers of global policy, and at how Latin America might come to fit more firmly within Australia’s international perspectives’.

The authors state that ‘. . . by 2025, 500 million middle-class Latin Americans will be potential customers for Australian products and services. Latin American companies will be competing more keenly with Australian companies for access to Asian and other markets across a range of commodities, food and services’.

Nominating areas of the relationship that require attention, the book highlights that ‘Australia’s relationship with Latin America is woefully under-resourced at the diplomatic level.’ ‘Our diplomatic and trade presence does not reflect current imperatives, let alone future ones as Latin America’s influence grows economically and politically.’

To remedy the situation, the book’s authors state that ‘. . . Latin America and Australia need to see each other in new ways and be more certain about what each can offer the other. At a strategic level, the political and global weight of Latin America, especially of Brazil and Mexico, needs to be more fully understood and acted upon by Australia’s leaders’.

‘At a commercial level, relationships with Latin American countries also need to be seen in new ways. Bilateral trade and investment relationships can go much further than the current focus on mining and spread beyond their epicentre in Chile.’

The book then goes on to outline what governments can do to increase the likelihood that the Australia-Latin America relationship ‘takes off’ and concludes that, ‘At one level, the answer might simply be to work on the basis that Australia-Latin America engagement will intensify to the extent that Latin American business becomes more interested in Asia and sees Australia as part of enhancing engagement with Asia’.

The Australia-Latin America Business Council welcomes the analysis of the Australia-Latin America relationship contained in the book and hopes that it will encourage government and business alike to take a much closer look at what the markets of Latin America have to offer to Australia, and brings about a more concerted effort to boost Australia’s representation in the region and to deepen the commercial engagement with the region.

Note:  ‘Trading Nation – Advancing Australia’s interests in world markets’ is published by UNSW Press


Member Update: 'Changing the Score' An Australia-Brazil Sport for Reconciliation Journey

A group of Australian AFL stars and community sport professionals recently returned from Brazil where they attended a series of workshops, community conversations and sport-for-development activities in favela communities as part of the action research project “Changing the Score” organised by RMIT University, Bluestone Edge and Global Reconciliation.  

Nine Richmond football players, along with sport-for-development professionals and indigenous members of the Korin Gamadji Institute took part in ‘Changing the Score’, along with the project organisers Dr Pippa Grange of Bluestone Edge and Dr Elizabeth Kath of RMIT University.

Dr Elizabeth Kath, RMIT Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow with the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and co-director of Global Reconciliation, said the trip was the next step in a series of reconciliation journeys focused on building community resilience and social inclusion using sport and other everyday practices.

“The core idea of these journeys is for participants from very different parts of the world, who are nevertheless facing similar community challenges, to explore how everyday practices such as sport can become vehicles for reconciliation and social inclusion,” Dr Kath said.

“This visit is a learning exchange allowing Australian and Brazilian participants to share knowledge and experiences that we hope will inform and enrich their future work in communities.”

The AFL players spent eight days in Rio de Janeiro, hosted by Global Reconciliation’s local partner, Brazilian NGO, IBISS (Brazilian Institute forInnovations in Social Health).

The project began with an official welcome ceremony where the five Australian Indigenous participants gave a talk and performance with music and dance, followed by a reciprocal presentation by the local Brazilian community.

The itinerary also included workshops, community discussions, football clinics, and visits to local projects in some of Rio de Janeiro’s most socially excluded favela communities including, Vila Cruceiro, Vila Holanda, Vila Alianca, Vila Nova and Jardim Gramacho.

Rio de Janeiro is preparing to host the world’s biggest sporting events – the FIFA World Cup (2014) and Summer Olympics (2016).

During their visit, participants also learned about Brazil’s politics, social and cultural divisions and visited IBISS’ community soccer projects.

Dr Pippa Grange, Director of Bluestone Edge, said previous sport focused journeys had involved a mixture of players from Sydney, Hawthorn, Richmond, Carlton and Geelong.

This was the first time all the players have come from the same club.

The participating Richmond players were: Alex Rance, Daniel Jackson, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes, Jake King, Matthew Dea, Reece Conca, Shane Edwards and Steven Morris along with two young indigenous players from KGI’s Lagunta’s program, Derek Hayes and Darren Allen, KGI’s director Belinda Duarte and Rio Tinto’s Indigenous Programs Specialist, James Sebire.

Changing the Score was funded by RMIT, Bluestone Edge, Richmond Football Club, Karoon Gas, Rio Tinto, Costa Foundation and Drapac Group.         

The results of the research evaluation of the exchange will be analyzed and released in the coming months.

Global Reconciliation is an international network whose patrons include the Reverend Desmond Tutu, Sir William Deane, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Jose Ramos-Horta and Dr Lowitja O’Donaghue.

Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message

Chairman’s Message

I have spent most of this month in South America   - visiting Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Sao Paulo -  and came away with two overwhelming conclusions. The first is that the countries involved are all experiencing considerable economic activity, driven by a variety of factors, including the expansion of their middle classes. Annual GDP growth is not the same in all of the countries, but there is more than enough going on to offer ample opportunities for Australian companies.

The second conclusion is one of disappointment, namely, that Australian companies are just too conservative and too slow in seizing the opportunities on offer. Caution should always be exercised when venturing into new markets, but taken to an extreme, delaying action until potential risk is reduced to developed market levels means that our companies usually arrive when the best opportunities have already been snapped up by more savvy and  entrepreneurial competitors.

Each market has a different dynamic and risk profile, but understanding that and having the required market intelligence is often the key to not missing out on the best business opportunities or growth spurts. Some of Latin America’s markets offer steady and continuous growth, with Chile being the standout example, but others are far more volatile and require rapid action to benefit from shorter periods of strong growth, with Argentina being one such example. Both types are worthy of consideration.

It is fair to say that few Australian companies would currently have Argentina on their list of priority markets for engagement. Yet, the Buenos Aires stock market has risen by almost 100% this year. At the same time, a growing number of domestic and foreign companies have started to bet that the country will pursue a more business-friendly strategy after the 2015 presidential elections, if not well before then. On the basis of that assessment, they are starting to prepare themselves for the expected upturn in economic growth and the explosion of deals that are likely to flow after years of subdued activity.

Based on past observations, I suspect that most (if not all) Australian companies will wait to see what happens post 2015 and will want to see a pattern of stable and sustained business-friendly government action before committing to doing anything in the market. That approach may help to avoid excessive risk, but it will also mean that our companies will arrive too late. Competitors will already have forged the important alliances and positioned themselves well in advance of the market confirming its recovery and growth.

There are also quite a few other approaches that I think we need to reconsider if we hope to maximise what Latin America has to offer to us. Amongst these are thinking that Chile is the only viable gateway into the region. It has very strong credentials, but the region has moved on a long way since the 1990s and there is no reason why Australian companies should not enter the region through other markets.

Likewise, it is time for us to abandon the perspective that Latin America is only suited as a destination for our mining and METS companies. This sector undoubtedly offers excellent opportunities and is the current foundation of our relationship with the region, but there is much more to Latin America. Above all there is the rise of its middle class and what this process means in terms of urbanization, retailing and the need for a wide variety of services. Australia may not be best suited to meet the region’s basic needs   - as it has the potential to feed and house its people -   but we certainly have the capacity to satisfy its wants, including a desire for the latest fashion, for world-class wine and other beverages, for all of the trinkets and elements common in more developed economies.

We also need to abandon our preference for acting with a herd mentality. The classic example is how many different players are planning  delegations  to  visit  the  region  to  coincide  with  Expomin  in  April,  2014.  This  mining  exhibition/conference  is undoubtedly an important event and warrants our involvement, but probably not the mass representation that Australia will arrange. I firmly believe that delegations would get a far better hearing if they were to go at other times of the year and avoided competing with  one  another  and  with  many  other  delegations from  throughout the  world.  We  should  not  fear  a  more independent and individualistic approach.

There are some outstanding Australian success stories in Latin America, but there are also quite a number of underperforming players who have not been able to find the right way of engaging with their chosen market(s) in the region. In some instances this is due to poor decisions or bad timing or incorrect strategies, but part of the problem is also a lack of preparedness to take advice. Previous success in other markets is not a guarantee of future success in the Latin American markets.

Jose Blanco, Chairman

Prime Minister Abbott meets with Mexican President

Prime Minister Abbott meets with Mexican President

Prime Minister Abbott meets with Mexican President

On October 7, as part of the 21st Leaders’ Meeting at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) 2013, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto attended bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott.

During his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, President Peña Nieto stressed his government’ interest in intensifying bilateral relations with Australia and establishing a closer political dialogue based on mutual trust to strengthen the cooperation agenda.

The Mexican president highlighted the priority placed on collaboration and coordination at international forums, which is essential for advancing the creation of consensus on international issues of mutual interest. In this, he expressed his commitment to continuing to encourage dialogue at these forums, as well as collaboration within the framework of the Group of Twenty (G20), a mechanism Australia will chair next year.

The Mexican president expressed his interest in strengthening relations with the government of Australia, which, like his own, began recently, since both countries are part of the group of emerging nations, together with Indonesia, Korea and Turkey.

Prime Minister Abbott and President Peña Nieto, also mentioned the importance placed on the work of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) and the progress in the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP), within which they agreed to continue maintaining close collaboration on various topics of mutual interest to both nations, and the development of the work at the Economic Cooperation Forum 2013.

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