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  • 16 Feb 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    Perth-based retail and industrials conglomerate Wesfarmers has announced it will forge ahead with a near billion-dollar investment to construct a lithium mine in the Western Australian region of Mt Holland.

    Wesfarmers told investors after market close on Wednesday evening it had made a final decision to proceed with the investment in the mine and its associated refinery in Kwinana which it is building via a joint agreement with Chilean chemical company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM).

    The two businesses’ joint venture company, Covalent Lithium, completed a fresh feasibility study on the mine, determining its annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium, a 5,000-tonne increase on the original planned production capacity.

    Wesfarmers and SQM are currently in the process of landing all necessary approvals for the project though final approval is required from the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority.

    Read full article here

  • 15 Feb 2021 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    February 2021 ALABC E-Newsletter

    Dear Members and Friends,

    I am please to welcome you to our first ALABC E-Newsletter of 2021. It is great to hear that many of our members are well an on their way to returning to stronger growth. We are looking forward to keeping our members engaged in our upcoming activities and supporting your business expand in this rapidly evolving business landscape.

    We recently finished planning our calendar of events for 2021 and as you would expect, we will be-re-instigating our traditional annual dinners in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. We will continue with webinars throughout the year and hosting boardroom luncheons with Ambassadors, Senior Government officials and business leaders. Our AGM will be held in May and our ALABC-COALAR Networking Day in Canberra is scheduled for October. Please remember to save the dates to ensure you secure your place. 

    We will also be expanding on our bilateral relations with specific countries in the Latin American region and establishing binational leadership forums with Peru and Brazil, in addition to the one already establish with Chile. The Australia-Chile Business Council is established and if you are interested in joining this binational business leaders forum, please do so by following the instructions here

    With the support of COALAR, we will continue to enhance our digital tools to help our members maximise their networking opportunities as well as providing easy access to data and key insights regarding countries in the region.

    During 2021, ALABC will be strongly advocating for a comprehensive globally connected strategy for Latin America. Australia needs to expands its horizons, diversify markets and reduce the dependency on Asia. It is not about the reallocation of priorities, or the broadening of perspective, it's about thinking bigger and being enthusiastic about the world.

    We hope that 2021 brings more health and recovery as we strive towards growing the business links between Australia and Latin America. I look forward to connecting with you all.

    Yours sincerely,

    Marcelo Salas

    Chief Executive Officer 

    Australia-Latin America Business Council

    Read the full newsletter
  • 11 Jan 2021 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    Mexican bill would reform tax law for subcontracted services

    November 16, 2020

    In brief:

    Mexico’s Executive branch submitted a bill to Congress on November 12 that would reform labor and tax laws related to the tax treatment and legal permissibility of subcontracted services. Given the political context, Congress likely will pass some version of the proposed legal reform and that the effective date could be as early as January 1, 2021.

    In detail:


    Subcontracted services are a widespread feature of Mexican business both through third-party personnel providers and, more commonly, through related-party service companies. For decades, Mexican businesses often have maintained their employees in legal entities that are separate from the operating entity.

    Additionally, Mexican Labor Law mandates an annual 10% profit-sharing payment to employees. The payment is made directly to the employees and is not a tax. Labor Law bases the payment on the employer’s taxable profits. As a result, an employee´s profit sharing is limited to a portion of the fair market value profit at the legal entity employer rather than the consolidated business profit of a group of entities.

    For MNCs that house their employees in a separate legal entity, the proposed legal reform could disrupt various aspects, including legal structure, people planning, income tax and value-added tax (VAT). Companies that provide workforce solutions such as staffing to unrelated parties also should consider the proposed legislation’s impact.

    Read full document here. 

  • 21 Dec 2020 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    December 2020 ALABC E-Newsletter

    The directors of ALABC were able to share their insights on plans for 2021 and welcome opportunities for potential events next year with our member companies at our virtual end of year drinks. We were extremely pleased to have Jeanne Johns, the Managing Director and CEO of one of our Patron Companies, Incitec Pivot, at the meeting to share their plans with us for the coming year. In addition, we were also very pleased to have Jason Stirbinskis, Managing Director of Los Cerros, Rolf Fandrich, Co-Founder and Business Development Director of Voconiq and Liliana Harris, Business Advisory Partner at Mazars also share insights about their companies over the past year. 

    I would like to remind our members, that the Australia-Chile Business Council will be starting activities early in the new year and if you are interested in joining this binational advisory group, please do so by following the instructions here

    ALABC has a number of events related to specific industries planned for the coming year that can be viewed in our upcoming events page on our website. Please remember to save the date to ensure you secure your place. 

    In the next few months, ALABC will be strongly advocating for a comprehensive globally connected strategy for Latin America. Australia needs to expands its horizons, diversify markets and reduce the dependency on Asia. It is not about the reallocation of priorities, or the broadening of perspective, it's actually thinking bigger and being enthusiastic about the world.

    I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period. We hope that 2021 brings more health and recovery as we strive towards growing the business links between Australia and Latin America. I look forward to connecting with you all in the new year. 

    Yours sincerely,

    Marcelo Salas

    Chief Executive Officer 

    Australia-Latin America Business Council

    Read Full Newsletter Here

  • 7 Dec 2020 9:22 AM | Anonymous

    Austrade is making it easier for businesses to go further, faster with services delivered online, in person and via partners. To support Australian businesses anytime, anywhere in the world Austrade is reimaging existing services and developing new ones. These services will help businesses unlock more opportunities, more often, making it easier to find export markets, understand exporting rules and get the latest insights. Businesses going global can also connect with Austrade and other government services through the advisory centre, staffed by experienced specialists.  In 2021, Austrade will provide more tailored information and digital services based on where a business is in its global growth journey, from new to experienced exporters, through a fully integrated online export guide.

    Learn more about Austrade's Digital Services  and try Austrade’s new digital tools, currently in beta for Food and Agriculture businesses.  

  • 26 Nov 2020 9:12 AM | Anonymous

    November 2020 ALABC E-Newsletter

    On the 12th November 2020, an MOU was signed between ALABC and the Chilean Federation of Industry (SOFOFA for the establishment of the Australia-Chile Business Council (ACHBC). The ACHBC will provide a regular platform for a more systematic approach of cooperation, coordination and consultation for the private sector. The mandate of this new organisation is to explore new ways to expand and deepen the business links between the two countries.

    This strategic alliance with SOFOFA, represents unique opportunities for the members of ALABC to access key players and decision makers in the Chilean private sector. Given Australia’s outstanding success in managing the current health crisis and the current economic stability, medical and economic conditions in place, there has never been a better time for Chilean companies to explore investment opportunities in Australia.

    Chile is home to over 200 Australian companies, of which over one quarter are listed on the ASX200. This is by far the largest Australian presence in Latin America. Some of the Chilean companies already present in Australia are Antofagasta Minerals, SQM, Duratray, ENAEX, Latam Airlines, Arauco and CMPC. In 2009, Chile became just the fifth country in the world to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Australia.

    As a member of ALABC you can join this Advisory Group just by simply editing your member profile here:

    The Board of ALABC would also like to recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion when delivering our services to our members and stakeholders. We strive to ensure commitments are made between cross cultural, institutional, societal and organisational departments with our members, industry partners, government agencies and the broader community. We will actively engage in promoting our vision and goals and its connections to the business environment between Australia and Latin America. 

    Currently, the ALABC board is comprised of 30% women and 50% of our permanent staff is female. ALABC is proud to continue to grow and establish relationships with all individuals who want to develop stronger economic ties between Australia and Latin America. 

    Finally, I would also like to draw attention to the Council on Australia Latin America Relations has opened a new Special Grant Round which replaces the 2020-21 grant round postponed earlier this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Special Grant Round has the focus theme of ‘Economic Recovery’ and will support innovative activities that use digital technologies to strengthen relationships between Australia and Latin America and contribute to COVID-19 economic recovery. Please click here for more information. 

    We hope you are all keeping safe and well in the lead up to the holidays and I look forward to hearing any feedback regarding potential business ventures for 2021. 


    Yours sincerely,

    Marcelo Salas

    Chief Executive Officer 

    Australia-Latin America Business Council

    Read full newsletter here.

  • 12 Nov 2020 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    The establishment of the joint business council between the Australia-Latin America Business Council and the Chilean Federation of Industry. 

    On November 12, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Australia Latin America Business Council and the Chilean Federation of Industry (SOFOFA) for the establishment of the Australia-Chile Business Council ACHBC), to foster closer friendship and promote economic, trade and investment between Australia and Chile.

    The signing ceremony was co-hosted by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ALABC Mr. Richard Andrews and by the President of SOFOFA Mr. Bernardo Larrain and included the participation of the President of the Australian Chapter Mr. Andrew Phillips and by the President of the Chilean Chapter, Mr. Ramon Jara and the Vice-Presidents of both Chapter Mr. John O’Donogue and Mr.Pablo Altimiras along with the respective members of the boards.

    Special mention to highlight the presence of H.E.Patricio Powell, Ambassador of Chile in Australia.

    In his welcoming remarks the President of SOFOFA Bernardo Larrain highlighted that the signing of the MOU marks a new milestone in the consolidation of the business relations between Australia and Chile and that the main objective is to provide a regular forum for a more systematic bilateral business promotional initiatives that lead to increase trade in goods and services and investment between the two countries. He added that “the current trade and investment figures demonstrate that the existing potential remains largely untapped. An essential role for the Australia-Chile Business Council it is to encourage investor confidence and strengthen relations to establish the bases for stable growth that is beneficial for both countries”

    The President of ALABC, Richard Andrews mentioned that this is the first binational business advisory group created by ALABC . The  bilateral business councils are unique instances of private sector cooperation, coordination and consultation whose objective is to increase business between two countries. They are made up of senior businessmen and executives of companies that have significant investments or trade flows with the countries that act as counterparts. 

    They are an effective tool for business diplomacy and complement the efforts made by DFAT, ALABC along with key industry player such as COALAR (lead by Alberto Calderon), Austrade, Global Victoria, Trade and Investment Queensland and their Chilean counterparts.

    Andrews also mentioned “Latin America has been growing in economic importance for Australia in recent years. Chile, for example, in 2009 became just the fifth country in the world with which Australia entered a free trade agreement, and this basis for exchange has only been bolstered through both countries’ membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – an accord that also includes Mexico and Peru.

    Clean energy and green hydrogen are a major focus for the Chilean government and industries are wanting to attract and partner with Australian energy technology exporters on new projects.

    Online commercial platforms are gaining traction for tech companies that can focus on digitalisation solutions. That's where we see new and emerging sectors for Australian companies. With the new Asia and South America digital gateway (submarine cable) connecting Australia and Chile, plus the 5G networks rolling out across the region, provides new opportunities for data driven businesses.

    Mr. Andrews Phillips added that “ the road is long, the challenges are great and the goals are ambitious. Although the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement signed in 2009 allowed for an important advance, which was deepened when both countries granted tariff preferences to almost all products, this is still insufficient” .

    “ The importance of the MOU signed between the two  industry bodies, through which an strategic alliance is established represents a unique opportunity for Australian companies to access key players and decision makers in the Chilean private sector. On the other hand, there has never been a better time given the reasonable success that Australia have had in managing the health crisis caused by Covid-19, the relative stability, medical and economic, offered by Australia, to explore opportunities here”.

    Pedro Reus, Chief Executive Chilean Chapter

    Marcelo Salas, Chief Executive Australian Chapter (0412643343)

    Currently, SOFOFA has established 15 bilateral business councils and the business council of the Pacific Alliance.

    Some of the Chilean companies that have a presence in Australia are:  Duratray, Latam Airlines, SQM, Antofagasta Minerals, ARAUCO, CMPC, Davey Bickford Enaex, Downer Blasting Services, Covalent Lithium.

    SOFOFA is a non-profit trade association that brings together companies and associations related to the Chilean industrial sector.

    It brings together about 4,000 companies, 48 industry associations and 22 regional business associations. All these members together comprise 100% of Chile's industrial activity and 30% of GDP.

    Its political independence, soundness of principles, technical approach and prestige of its leaders, has allowed it to achieve an important place in national life, and is listened with respect by governments and political, economic and social sectors.

    ALABC ALABC was established in 1989 as a Non-for Profit association and our membership is comprised of companies and organisations ranging from large multinational corporations to education and research institutions, SMEs, sole traders and professionals, who are at the forefront of forging business relations between Australia and Latin America.

  • 9 Nov 2020 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    An Australian citizen or a permanent resident can apply for a travel exemption to leave Australia if they meet at least one of the following:

    • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 
    • your travel is essential for your business/employer
    • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
    • you are travelling outside Australia for three months or longer
    • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
    • your travel is in the national interest.

    An applicant must provide evidence to support their claim, for example a letter from their employer, or other evidence that they are travelling for an essential business reason. Further information regarding exemptions for Australian citizens and permanent residents can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

    For non-citizens, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual exemption if they are

    • travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
    • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
    • with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)
    • delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available
    • providing critical skills in religious or theology fields
    • sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
    • whose entry would otherwise be in Australia's national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.

    An individual can submit a request for a travel exemption under this category or a business can submit a request on their behalf. Further information on travel exemptions for non-citizens can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

  • 28 Oct 2020 11:28 AM | Anonymous

    Key takeaways from the Australia-Latin America Business Networking Event 2020

    “Latin America: Diversify your Growth”

    Co-hosted by ALABC and COALAR.

    Wednesday 14th October 2020

    Richard Andrews: Chairman ALABC

    Initial comments about Latin America:

    Latin America has been growing in economic importance for Australia in recent years. Chile, for example, in 2009 became just the fifth country in the world with which Australia entered a free trade agreement, and this basis for exchange has only been bolstered through both countries’ membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – an accord that also includes Mexico and Peru. More recently, Australia signed an FTA with Peru.

    ln addition to such agreements, the increased trade between Australia and Latin America has been stimulated by a gradual move by both sides away from their traditional reliance on exporting primary products and towards services and manufactured goods. As global commerce and trade become more and more digitised, particularly amid the potential long-term transformations brought about by Covid-19, exchange between these increasingly service-based economies could no doubt be accelerated. 

    Mr. Alberto Calderon: MD and CEO of Orica, takes over as the new Chairperson of the Council on Latin America Relations (COALAR):

    Mr. Alberto Calderon made his first official speech as COALAR’s Chair at the Australia-Latin America Business Networking Day, on the 14th October 2020.

    The new Chair of COALAR mentioned the close relationship and dependency, that exists between Australia and Latin American countries, especially in the resources industry, where collaboration in areas such as the environment, productivity and many other fronts have been mutually advantageous and worth continual exploration.

     In that sense, he expressed his willingness to continue partnering with ALABC in bringing together, government and businesses to discuss the important issues of diversifying markets during these extraordinary times.

    Mr. Calderon also announced a special grant round targeting COVID-19, with a specific focus in digital technologies to assist in the recovery of business between Australia and Latin America. The official call will be published on the DFAT website.

    Eduardo Suarez: Vice – President Latin American Economics at Scotiabank:

    Latin America is the region where Scotiabank has chosen to expand very aggressively prior to operations in Toronto, Canada and Australia. Currently, the Bank has more than 60,000 employees based in the Latam region.

    What do we like so much about Latin America?

    In spite of going through challenging times, Eduardo believes that there are some very attractive long-term dynamics in the region that make it very attractive as a long-term investment opportunity. It's a region that can be characterised as being part of the global middle class, a very large market that is attractive for multinationals.


    For many consumer brands, when you break the US $5,000 in terms of income, a market becomes an attractive opportunity for non-durables. In the Latin American region, most of these countries have an income between $5,000 to $20,000. Most of the region is over the $10,000 mark, thus becoming very attractive for durables as well.


    Just looking at five of the largest markets in the region, the growth in population will add 65 million new consumers over the next 30 years. With today's income level, that would be equivalent to creating a new economy the size of Colombia, Singapore or South Africa.

    The increase in the size of the Latin American market will be largely noticeable.

    Women in the labour Force:

    Women have an extremely strong influence in Latin America and the increased participation of females in the formal labour market has been overwhelming, especially for countries such as Peru and Chile. Due to this, this means that the capacity of households to consume has drastically increased. The same situation applies to countries such as the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama and numerous other countries that manage to convert from a country of $3,000 of income per capita to over $10,000, in just a couple of decades. 

    Well-funded social security systems:

    The pension reforms developed in Chile in the 1980’s and exported to majority of the region where each individual makes mandatory contributions to his/her own saving account, has created a diverse pool of domestic savings, which in turn has allowed interest rates in the region to fall, affecting consumption dynamics in the region. Now these countries have the capacity to take out debt in their own currency at fixed interest rates for much longer, which increases the demand and supply of durables such as housing and cars.

    Chile, Colombia and Peru entered the crisis with very strong growth dynamics and prospects; therefore, the expectation is that growth will start strong for the recovery next year.

    As the region entered the COVID crisis, countries such as Colombia, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic have had very prominent growth dynamics and growth prospects, while other countries have experienced growth challenges, burdened by the government’s debt to GDP ratio.

    Countries including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, but they have strong fundamentals and large markets, making these countries desirable for Australian companies to consider doing business with.

    Many countries in the region have agreements with other countries such as Australia, Canada, Europe, United States, Japan and China which protect investors and also display an attractive investment destination at a time when, when global politics is making us question assumptions that have not been questioned in the past.


  • 22 Oct 2020 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has created this Webinar with the support of Austrade to assist food & beverage (F&B) exporters using FTAs and accessing LATAM markets.

    Hear from key industry experts, successful Australian exporters, and relevant trade commissioners who will address questions and guide you through the process of making FTAs relevant for you.

    The discussion will provide you with specific market entry tips and tricks to your chosen destination.

    Watch full video here:

Championing Business Growth across the Pacific

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