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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.
LATAM News January 2014
In January's LATAM News: CSIRO Technology to benefit Chilean mining Goodman secures regulatory approval in Brazil Productora ready to deliver Hot Chili Peru's PROINVERSION's roadshow to Australia Perth Anniversary Dinner - Tickets selling fast! Expomin to be centre of attention in April Chairman's message R... Sign-in to read

Chairman's Message December 2013

Chairman's Message December 2013

As 2013 comes to an end, we can look back at a very successful year for the ALABC and look forward with excitement to the year ahead, which will mark the 25th  anniversary of the Council’s establishment. An important milestone in the Council’s history and a great opportunity to reflect and to celebrate the deepening of Australia’s engagement with Latin America that has taken place over the past quarter century.

From modest beginnings, the Council has grown into an over 200 member strong entity that has carved out for itself an enviable reputation for the quality of the work that it does in

promoting Latin America in Australia, and for the successful relationships that it has forged with key allies and stakeholder s, both in Australia and in Latin America. It has survived the test of time and can look forward to the next 25 years with enthusiasm and optimism.

As satisfying and rewarding as the past 25 years have been, the Council readily acknowledges that much remains to be done if Australia is to extract maximum benefit from its relationship with Latin America. The challenges are extensive and daunting, and time is of the essence, for opportunities are never permanent and must be seized as fast as possible. That said, we can draw encouragement from the solid platform that has been established and from the progress that a growing number of countries in Latin America have made in building their economies.

Amongst the highlights that 2014 holds in store are Brazil’s hosting of the football World Cup, the start of a new presidency in Chile and the expected flow on effects from the historic reforms introduced in Mexico by President Enrique Peña Nieto. At the same time, countries such as Peru, Colombia and Uruguay are expected to continue growing and to offer increasing opportunities for Australia.

As is explained in this newsletter, Austrade has broadened its focus on Latin America and this should ensure that more Austra lian companies are able to access a greater number of the region’s markets. This is welcome news and will hopefully, in time, be reinforced by the strengthening of our diplomatic representation in the region. An embassy in Colombia should be our next priority, in recognition of that country’s growing economy and considerable interest in forging closer ties with Australia.

Similarly, we should take note of the recommendations contained in the recently -published book, ‘Trading Nation’, which is also reported on in this newsletter. Amongst the conclusions expressed by the book’s authors are 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 politic al 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 key message is that Australia should not focus exclusively on China and the Asia region, and that there is an important role for Latin America to play in Australia’s political and commercial strategy.

On the home front, the Council will be striving to host even more events than in any previous year and to bring to Australia 2 or 3 high profile visitors from the region, around whom it plans to schedule nationwide ‘roadshows’ that should help to reach an even wider audience and to thus draw greater interest to engaging with Latin America. In this regard, we are delighted that  the Latam Airlines Group,  which  comprises LAN  and  TAM  and operates the largest airline in South America, has agreed to partner with the Council to bring these high profile visitors to Australia. Other partners will be sought so as to give the visits maximum impact.

All companies that are engaged in doing business in Latin America are encouraged to see 2014 as their year of celebration. An opportunity to wave the corporate flag on behalf of Latin America and to support activities that acknowledge the growing importance that the region has for them.

On behalf of everyone at the ALABC I extend to all of you our best wishes for the festive season and for a successful and memorable 2014.

Austrade Defines its 2014-17 Strategic Vision for Latin America

Austrade Defines its 2014-17 Strategic Vision for Latin America

Austrade’s Latin American senior management team met in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in November to shape a new framework to position 
Australian capability in Latin America. Grame Barty, General Manager, Growth and Emerging Markets, led the discussion that highlighted the Australia-Latin America trade success story, particularly in education, training and the export of services across a range of sectors.

The Latin American story continues to evolve with many more Latin American economies aligning themselves closer to, and more competitively with, the world’s leading economies and Institutions. “As a result, our previous strategy of focussing on six Latin economies (Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Mexico) has now expanded this twelve Latin American economies (including Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama)” said Barty.

As a result of recent rapid economic development many Latin American nations are now moving ahead on the prosperity in dex, with most countries in the world’s top 50 ‘most prosperous’, and their citizens are seeking a social and personal dividend fr om this economic progress.

‘Every government wants to makes a positive impact towards improving the standard of living for their people that will allow for a better quality of life through new services, stability and effective management of the country. Australia is seen to be a glo bal benchmark to prosperity because of those very systems and frameworks that underpin its society and way of living.’

Austrade also sees education in all its forms – graduate, post graduate, scholarships, vocational training, English as a second language, transnational research links - as a key strategic driver and focal point for deepening Latam links through the development of human capital across a range of sectors including mining, environmental management and water sustainability, agribusiness, health and well-being and financial services and wealth management.

‘Austrade is focused on broadening and deepening our services and investment relationship with Latin America. In addition to finalising formal trade and investment agreements the most effective way for this happen is by creating within our Austrade t rade promotion team a comprehensive methodology to understand all of the issues affecting a market from policy and regulation, to research or equipment, technology, skilling and services. We call this internally the PRETSS approach’ said Mr Barty.

‘Our 2014 – 2017 strategic focus then could be simply summarised as L6 to L12; Economic Development to Quality of Life; and

implemented through a PRETSS approach and we look forward to working with ALABAC members to make this happen.’

Austrade has six trade and investment offices in Latin America located in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.

In December's LATAM News: Goodman’s new deal in Brazil  Modernizing Brazil’s mining sector  Austrade’s 2014-17 strategy for Latin America  Chile, Peru and Colombia lead growth  Austin Engineering wins new work in Chile NZ meat gains access to Peru Hot Rock departs Chile and ... Sign-in to read


Second Australia Latin America Leadership Program Delivers Results

A highly successful second Australia Latin America Leadership Program (ALALP) took place during October when 38 emerging leaders from Australia and  nine Latin  American countries came together for  12  days to  collaborate on  an  action-oriented examination of ‘Sustainability in the Context of the Australia Latin America Business Relationship’.

The participants were  selected from approximately 380  applicants who were mid-career professionals from business, government, non- government  organisations  and  educational  institutions  in  Australia  and Latin America.

The primary purpose of the ALALP is to assist in the development of future leaders from Australia and Latin America and to develop strong networks between participants which will benefit both the individuals, organisations and nations from which they are drawn.

Participants met together for the first two days at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where they interacted with experts in fields related to the sustainability theme.  Speakers were drawn from business, government,  universities  and  trade  unions.  

They  included  Jose  Blanco, Chairman of ALABC, who was the opening speaker on the first day, and three Latin American ambassadors from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, as well as a former Australian ambassador to Chile.

Three equally-sized groups comprising a mixture of Australian and Latin American then embarked on week-long field trips to examine the theme of sustainability in a variety of geographic and economic contexts. One group travelled to Queensland where they studied challenges facing mining and energy, among other issues, in cities as diverse as Townsville and Mt Isa.

A second group travelled throughout New South Wales, including the Riverina and Murray regions where they focused on agribusiness and other industries. A third group visited Victoria where they investigated technology-based industries such as windfarms. They also visited the regional centres of Ararat and Bendigo, as well as various research and educational institutions around the state.

The closing two days were at RMIT University in Melbourne where each group made a presentation on their field trip observations to an expert panel and submitted their final reports. Discussions based on the field trip reports enabled participants to draw comparisons between Australia and Latin American experiences in addressing issues of sustainability in a range of different contexts.

Many participants expressed the view that   their experiences in Australia could be usefully transposed to Latin America. Conversely, the Australian based participants were able to gain insights from the Latin American perspectives and experience of facing similar issues in their home countries.

Funding for the ALALP in cash and kind was received from 10 business, government and educational institution sponsors in Australia.

These included Mt Isa Mines – Glencore, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Council on Latin American Relations (COALAR),  RMIT University, University of Technology Sydney, the Australian Department of Education, Innovia Security, Pacific Hydro, the University of Melbourne, Austrade and the State Government of Victoria.

The ALALP Steering Committee was chaired by  RFE  (Dick) Warburton and  the Co-Directors were Brian Pickett and  Russell Lansbury. Further details about the program can be found on the webpage:  www.alalp.com.


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

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