Webinar | Australia and Hong Kong, the Commonwealth Business Connection | 28th Nov 2022 Recording

Webinar | Australia and Hong Kong, the Commonwealth Business Connection | 28th Nov 2022 Recording

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Hello and welcome, everybody. Thank you so much  for joining the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce   Hong Kong for an extra special online event  highlighting a trade relationship defined by   its endurance, its extensiveness, the shared  Commonwealth history and mutual respect and   camaraderie of Hong Kong and Australia. So,  Australia and Hong Kong have had a special   connection that began over 200 years ago when  the first Cantonese speaking migrants ventured   south to the New World. Ever since, people  to people links have grown. And now Hong   Kong is home to one of the largest Australian  communities abroad, with an estimated 100,000   Australians, according to the latest official  Hong Kong Government census. At the same time,   86,000 Hong Kong citizens currently reside in  Australia and 11,400 Hong Kong students have   apparently enrolled in Australian universities.  Academic and business links also remain robust.   In 2018 there were 130 formal agreements  between Australia and Hong Kong, covering   student and staff exchanges, academic and research  collaborations, study abroad and so on. Now coming  

to trade, which is the focal point of this  webinar. It's no secret that the two countries   have had robust trade relations since the 1990s,  especially when the Investment Promotion and   Protection Agreement of 1993 was signed. Since  then, as of 2021, Hong Kong has become Australia's   13th largest export market and is Australia's  largest commercial destination in Asia. With the Australian Chamber of Commerce  in Hong Kong being the nation's largest   offshore chamber of commerce. I mentioned  endurance as a defining feature of the  

relationship because the partners renewed the  1993 IPA by signing a free trade agreement,   an investment agreement which  came into effect in January 2020.   This effort to enhance trade and provide even  more business and commercial opportunities and   favourable access to the markets of the other  country or territory as the case may be, is a   testament to the mutual respect and importance  of each of Hong Kong and Australia to each other.   So as the chair of the Commonwealth Chamber  of Commerce in Hong Kong, I'm honoured to be   joined by such a great panel who are directly  involved in the continuing development of this   long standing relationship. The Commonwealth  Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has been in  

operation for a little over a year and we're very  pleased about the contributions that we're able to   make to international discourse where we focus on  the Commonwealth. So now I'd like to invite Andrew   Wells of the Commonwealth Chamber to introduce  our esteemed speakers. Andrew, over to you. Many thanks, Julia. Our chairman, for  her introduction to the Commonwealth   Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and to this  important event, Australia and Hong Kong,   the Commonwealth Business connection, and indeed  for putting it into the broader historical and   economic context of the relationships between  Hong Kong and Australia. My name is Andrew Wells  

and I'm Secretary General of the Commonwealth  Chamber of Commerce here. I'm delighted as   moderator to have the honour to introduce our four  distinguished guests. Our keynote speaker today   is Mr. Andrew Cripps, JP former Queensland  Minister for Natural Resources and Mines.   He was first elected to the Queensland Parliament  as the State Member for Hinchinbrook in 2006   and held a wide variety of frontbench portfolios  between 2008 and 2017. His own tenure as Minister  

was characterised by many significant legislative  and regulatory reforms. Andrew remains active in   politics and is the Deputy Mayor of the town of  Hinchinbrook, amongst other public positions.   His particular experience in natural resources  not only obviously as a result of his ministerial   achievements, but also his upbringing in an  agricultural district in northern Queensland.   In the private sector, Andrew is the founder  of Front Row Advisory Services Ltd and has   been engaged in policy, strategic planning  and governance projects both at the federal   and the local levels. He's the chair of a  significant community bank and a graduate   of the Australian Institute of Company  Directors. Andrew's devotion to Australia's   role in the Commonwealth is well known and  we look forward to his strategic insights.

Our second speaker, Mr. Patrick Orchard, is  Consul Economic at the Australian Consulate   General in Hong Kong. He has previously  worked in the Trade and Investment   Division of the Federal Department of  Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.  

And his international experience also extends  to taking part in the UN peacekeeping mission   in South Sudan, as well as in the NGO sector,  both in Rwanda, which is currently, as we know,   playing a leading role in Commonwealth affairs  having hosted this year's Commonwealth Heads of   Government Meeting and also Sri Lanka. He has  therefore also wide Commonwealth experience,   in addition to his own academic qualifications,  both from Australia itself and from New Zealand.   Our third speaker is Jean Hamilton-Smith, Senior  Associate Australia of Herbert Smith Freehills.   Jean is based in HSF's Sydney office where  she is an expert in cross border disputes.  

Before going back to Australia in 2021 last  year, Jean spent several years, quite a few years   in Asia and the Middle East, resolving complex  international disputes under various institutional   rules, often involving Commonwealth jurisdictions.  And before qualifying as a solicitor, Jean was a   federal court judge's associate to the Honorable  Justice O'Riley in the Federal Circuit and Family   Court of Australia. Moving on from there, this  year, I believe the Australian Financial Review   recognised Jean in its Best Lawyers list in  the field of arbitration. Our final speaker   for today is Andrew Chan, the chairman of the  Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

He is at the same time the senior manager of  Risk and Opportunity at CLP Power Hong Kong,   which is one of Hong Kong's two  major power generation groups.   Previously he was vice president of Group  Risk Management and Compliance at PCCW,   HKT, Hong Kong Telecom conglomerate,  and he has held senior positions at   other major Hong Kong corporates, including  Dairy Farm and Hong Kong Shanghai Hotels.   Still earlier, he worked at both Ernst and Young  and Deloitte in Australia. Andrew has personally   had an important role in the development of  Commonwealth activities in Hong Kong and on   the professional side, is a committee member  of Hong Kong's Institute of Internal Auditors.   So, a very impressive group of speakers and a  big welcome to them all. Before we begin, please   allow me to add a very quick word on procedural  housekeeping. After the former minister's keynote  

address, our other three panelists will have about  8 minutes each to make their presentations so   that we can then move to what I hope will be an  interesting Q&A, I'm sure will be. Participants   are encouraged to type in questions using the  Q&A icon at any time indicating to which speakers   they're addressed. Without further preliminaries,  I invite Mr. Andrew Cripps, former Queensland   Minister of Natural Resources and Mines, to  take the virtual floor. Mr. Cripps, thank you. Well, thank you, Andrew. And thank you, Julia,  for the opportunity to speak to the Chamber about   the relationship between Hong Kong and Australia.  And my intention this evening is to focus on that  

area of Australia, which is most well known to me  and which is geographically closest to Hong Kong,   that being northern Australia. In my view,  northern Australia has an enormous potential   to influence the future relationship between  Australia and Hong Kong. I have lived and worked   in northern Australia my whole life and to be  more specific, there is no member of my immediate   family on either side that has been born outside  of North Queensland since the 1890s. So I'm very  

passionate about the people and the communities  and the industries and the natural environment   in northern Queensland and northern Australia,  and that's what I want to do. I want to spend   some time today promoting Northern Australia  to you from your perspective in Hong Kong.   For the purposes of today's discussion, the  Australian Government currently describes northern   Australia as roughly those parts of Queensland,  the Northern Territory and Western Australia,   north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It's a region  that comprises roughly 53% of Australia's landmass   but is inhabited by only 1.3 million people, which  is only 5.3% of Australia's total population.  

Since European settlement of the Australian  continent, in strategic terms, Northern Australia   has been seen as a weakness consisting of vast  areas of sparsely populated country, challenging   environmental conditions with extremes in weather  and the tyranny of distance from concentrated   populations in southeastern Australia, creating  several administrative and logistical problems. There certainly has been recognition of the value  and the opportunity presented by the vast natural   resources that exist in northern Australia. But  they have struggled to find investment and supply   chain models to successfully develop and realise  that value. Attempts were made in the 1970s to set   up a public policy agenda for the development  of northern Australia, but that was not very   effective. The current approach to the development  of northern Australia really began in the lead   up to the 2013 federal election. At the time the  Opposition released a detailed policy paper. They   were successful at that election and from there  they set about implementing their election policy,   which involved a lengthy and extensive process,  including a green paper and a white paper. The key  

feature that's differentiated this from previous  attempts to develop policy around the development   of northern Australia is that it's involved  the establishment of dedicated institutional   structures to support these objectives. These  institutions have been augmented by ministerial   and public service leadership, including  collaboration with relevant state and territory   governments and with other relevant stakeholder  groups. These institutions include the Office of   Northern Australia within the Federal Department  of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional   Development, the Northern Australia Infrastructure  Facility and the Cooperative Research Centre   for Developing Northern Australia. This  institutional environment is now almost a   decade old and notwithstanding a recent change in  government, it seems important because continuity   and stability of policy direction to developing  northern Australia is critical to attracting and   maintaining investor confidence. Now industry  and business always value certainty and an  

absence of sovereign risk. But where there  are so many other potentially significant   variables in a place such as Northern Australia, a  commitment to a long-term plan is very important. So Northern Australia, strategically in terms of  its geopolitical position, simultaneously faces   the Pacific Theatre. It faces Southeast Asia and  it faces the subcontinent. The obvious overlays   in this respect are defense and trade. I claim no  expertise in international relations or defense,   so I'm just going to leave that to one side and  let other people make some observations if they   wish to do so. The only relevant observation  that I can, I think I can make is that sovereign   states who have friendly diplomatic and strategic  relationships with respect to defense inevitably   have a sound platform on which to establish trade  and commercial relationships, and I think that's   very much true of Australia's recent foreign and  defense policy and most recent trade agreements.  

So to state the obvious, the Pacific Theater,  Southeast Asia and the subcontinent represent   simultaneously a very diverse  range of trading opportunities.   We've got everything from developing economies to  advanced economies. A full spectrum of approaches   to governance and huge cultural, linguistic and  religious diversity. So for northern Australia,   it's a smorgasbord of complexity and opportunity  all at once. It's a real policy challenge. There   is a temptation for me here to offer you a long  list of statistics about the abundance of northern   Australia's natural mineral and energy resources  to talk about its impressive agricultural   production and give you some examples, I suppose,  of its exotic and stunning tourism destinations.  

It is potentially an investor  and a consumer paradise. But each of you can spend some time on the  internet and you can work that out for yourselves.   I think that that would be a little bit lazy of  me to give you a shopping list of the advantages   of northern Australia. I think, to be frank, I  want to briefly canvass some of the barriers that   I think continue to create issues for investment  in northern Australia that need to be addressed.   There are significant legislative and regulatory  requirements for proposed development that are   complicated to navigate, in particular  for northern Australia. Environmental  

legislation and Indigenous cultural and native  title considerations are regularly prominent   challenges for project proponents. Furthermore,  infrastructural shortfalls present some major   challenges for project development and the  establishment of supply chains in northern   Australia. A significant challenge for northern  Australia, historically, and particularly acute   at present, is the shortage of skilled and for  some industries, unskilled labor. And finally, for   international investors, Australia's three levels  of government local, state and federal can be   somewhat daunting to navigate. But nevertheless,  technology and engineering are constantly   improving and the world is increasingly connected  and innovative solutions to complex problems   are more achievable than ever. And I think that  the value proposition that northern Australia   presents is that our resources are relatively  underdeveloped and in many respects it remains   a frontier market for investment. But it exists  within a safe, successful, advanced economy.  

And that's the secret that I think we're sitting  on. Other speakers on our panel will doubtless   add some color and movement to the contemporary  relationship between Hong Kong and Australia. My objective today was to try and set  the scene about this discussion from the   Australian perspective to try off my enthusiasm  for northern Australia. I want you to be intrigued   about northern Australia and to hopefully act  on that curiosity going forward. I believe that   northern Australia holds the promise of the future  in terms of the relationship between Hong Kong and   Australia and I'd be very pleased to carry on  a discussion with any of you individually. The  

Chamber has my contact details and I'm more  than happy for them to be made available if   you have any specific inquiries that you'd like  to make. So once again, thank you very much for   the opportunity to participate. I look forward to  listening to the other speakers and to engaging   with you in the Q&A. And hopefully that outline  gives you some perspective about the opportunities  

that exist in northern Australia for future growth  and development between Hong Kong and Australia. Thank you very much indeed, Minister. That was  a fascinating insight into an area of Australia   which, though vast, is perhaps not as well known  as it should be to many of us here in Hong Kong.   May I now ask Mr. Patrick Orchard,  

Trade Commissioner at the Australian  Consulate, to take the floor? Thank you. Thanks, Andrew, and thanks, Andrew and  Julia for having me here today to speak.   I think I've got a PowerPoint presentation  that hopefully will pop up. There it is.  

Technology, it's all happening. If we  could just go to the next slide. So   today I just wanted to give an overview, I  guess, of the Australia Hong Kong trade and   investment relationship as a bit of context  ahead of our our next speakers. So I thought   I'd start off by doing this with providing a  bit of a snapshot of the Australian economy.   And I think for the interest of those of you  listening in today, the two squares down there   at the bottom around export share and export  destination by type and destination are probably   of most interest here. Just to give you an  overall sense of the outward facing aspects   of the Australian economy. So from that- this  slide you can tell that Australia has a largely  

exports resource driven, but ever increasingly  services are creeping up into that space and are   probably rising the fastest in terms of exports  by destination. And this is goods and services.   Asia is still a large market for us, of which  China is our largest trading partner. But in   there you also see Japan and Korea and India as  well. So that gives a bit of a sense, I guess,   of where Australia is looking outwardly in  terms of the trade and investment space.

If we go to the next slide.   So, moving into Australia and Hong Kong and as  Julia mentioned before, the Hong Kong Australia   Free Trade Agreement I guess underpins the trade  and investment relationship between our two   economies, which entered into force in January  2020. And this sets the uncovering things from   good services, e-commerce and investment. So  that's really the basis on which the trading   relationship between our two economies is  established. If we just go to the next slide.  

There. And these are some of the key outcomes  that were guaranteed. And so I won't go through   them in any detail other than just to say that  I guess with two open economies, Australia is an   open economy and Hong Kong is as well. The primary  benefit coming out of the the free trade agreement   is locking in some of the market access conditions  at a treaty level agreement so that ensures that   the great access that we have into into Hong  Kong now will continue and can't be wound back.   And so that's one of the important aspects of that  agreement. If we just go to the to the next slide,   please. So I think this slide here is just  some of the the key points in terms of our   trading relationships. So Australia- Hong Kong is  Australia's 13th largest goods and service export  

market. It ranks nine for Australian investment  into Hong Kong, outward investment into Hong Kong. And Hong Kong is our fifth largest  source of international investment as   well. So that gives you a sense that the trading  relationship, especially on the investment side,   is very important between our two  economies. Next slide, please.   As mentioned before, I guess with  a lot of Commonwealth nations,   Hong Kong for Australia is our leading business  centre in East Asia. As mentioned before, we  

have 100,000 Australian passport holders in Hong  Kong. Many of who have studied, lived or worked   in Australia and move between our two economies.  We also have 14 professional body organisations,   which shows the, I guess the substantial business  links there, roughly around 600 businesses. And as   Julia mentioned earlier, AusCham is one of the  largest business chambers here in Hong Kong.   So as with many Commonwealth countries,  Hong Kong is the place to do to do business   for Australians when when we're looking to  access Asian markets. Next slide, please.   And it just gives a bit of a quick sense of  some of the key sectors in which Australian   businesses are operating in Hong Kong. So it  gives you a- I guess we're covering a wide range  

of services and goods that are coming  in here. So there's a pretty widespread   representation of Australian business  here in Hong Kong. Next slide.   So moving into into the goods export space.  Hong Kong is a major export market for us. Gold is actually our largest export into Hong  Kong, which comprises a substantial amount of the   trade volume trade value that goes through. But  in terms of where we see real potential growth and  

continuing growth, and that's in the F&B space and  in the Healthcare space. So Hong Kong is actually   Australia's second largest market for pro vitamins  and vitamins behind China. It's our third largest   citrus market, our fifth largest wine market and  sixth largest for grapes. So all the high quality  

Australian agricultural and food and beverage is  coming into Hong Kong and it's a very important   market for us. And I guess that gives you a bit  of a snapshot of the the goods market coming in.   So it's still the commodities and the resource  side, which is what Australia is known for,   but increasingly more into some of  that high value add and high quality   food and beverage and medicaments  and medicines. Next slide, please.   Now being an IFC is Hong Kong is services make up  a key component of our our trading relationship   as well. For us, we've got a lot of Australian  professionals living and working in Hong Kong,   of which our panelists can testify to that  as well. Also in terms of the service base,  

Hong Kong is a major tourism market and  also a major student market for Australia. So the Hong Kong students and tourists are  some of our most valued in terms of higher   spending tourists and students  that come to Australia. So it's   for us services is a very important  market here in Hong Kong. Next slide.   And finally, just wanted to touch on  investment that Andrew mentioned as well. So   as part of that, you know, we have a pretty robust  trade, goods trade and services trade with Hong   Kong. But investment firms are very critical  part of the trade and investment relationship.  

Hong Kong is a major investor into Australia  across a number of sectors, including energy,   agri food, commercial property and hotels. As  mentioned before, the strong people to people   links between Hong Kong and Australia help  facilitate that investment. With many people   having studied and worked in Australia who are  key investors in Hong Kong. And then echoing  

Andrew's points earlier around Australia,  being a safe, reliable and open investment   destination with a well performing and well  managed economy. It remains a very attractive   destination for Hong Kong investment and in many  cases when Hong Kong investors look to go out,   they look to go out to Australia in the  first instance because it's well known to   Hong Kong investors. So I thought, I'll leave it  there. That provides a bit of context in terms   of the trade relationship. And happy to  answer any questions at the end. Thank you. Thank you very much indeed, Patrick, for  that very concise but comprehensive tour   de force of the economic aspect of  this discussion. Can I now please   call upon Jean Hamilton Smith of Herbert  Smith Freehills to take the floor? Jean.

Thank you very much, Andrew. So before I begin,  I'd just like to acknowledge the traditional   custodians of the land I'm coming from, Sydney,  Australia, are the Gadigal people of the Illawarra   nation, and I'd also like to acknowledge elders  past, present and emerging. So I'm a disputes   lawyer practising at Herbert Smith Freehills.  So I view the relationship between Australia  

and Hong Kong through the lens of international  disputes. And so what I'm going to speak about   today is reciprocity. Some recent developments in  Australia and Hong Kong law which show a certain   direction of travel, which I think is important  for us to consider. And also we're just going to   touch upon where to from here. Obviously there's  a lot that we could speak about looking forward,  

but I'll just touch upon some interesting points  which we're seeing as relevant to our clients.   So when you're a disputes lawyer, as I am,  really the eye of the target is reciprocity,   meaning if a judgment is issued in Australia by  a court, would it be enforceable and recognised   in Hong Kong? And also, you know, the  inverse. If a judgment is issued from   a court or tribunal in Hong Kong, would it  be recognised and enforceable in Australia?   And of course they're applicable in  both directions. When an Australian   judge makes a decision, assuming there's no  part of that decision which would contravene   natural fairness or justice in Hong Kong, that  decision would be recognised and enforceable.

In arbitration, international arbitration,  where I mostly practice both Hong Kong and   Australia adopt the New York convention. Hong Kong  through the PRC and the New York convention makes   binding arbitration awards in local domestic  jurisdictions. So that's what we describe as   arbitration friendly countries, both of which Hong  Kong and Australia are. And really what that means   for our clients is certainty. They know that  if they have a decision rendered in Hong Kong,   it will be treated in Australia as though it was  an Australian judgement. And that provides for  

our clients a very clear path forward and they  and they can treat the law as very reliable in   both in both cases. In terms of developments,  obviously both Australia and Hong Kong are   Commonwealth nations and so our laws are very  similar. We both recognise the rule of law.   We're both based upon the Westminster system.  But there are some features at the moment where   our paths diverge a little bit, or at least Hong  Kong is a little bit behind Australia. The first  

is litigation funding. Litigation funding is now  widely accepted in Australia and most recently   in the class action space, which I'll come on  to. In Hong Kong it's a little bit less clear. There's an old English doctrine called maintenance  and champerty, which means that a third party   can't fund litigation. And so whilst it is allowed  in arbitration, which we see as a very helpful   step in the right direction, it's still not  widely recognised in litigation. So that we're  

very interested as disputes lawyers to watch that  space. Similarly, in class actions, really, class   actions have been widely available in Australia  since the early 2000s and since litigation funding   became a part of that, it's really exploded.  Certainly not the explosion we were all expecting   to see. But I think in 2001 we had something  like 63 class actions on foot, which, given the   size of Australia, is a huge amount of disputes  with a great volume of quantum. The position in   Hong Kong is slightly less developed. It still  relies upon representative proceedings, which   arguably if you had a court that really took  carriage of the dispute, you could still run   a class action. But certainly it doesn't have  the same level of sophistication and developed  

regulations that we're seeing in Australia at  the moment. And similarly we're watching that   space to see whether Hong Kong catches up, so to  speak. The problem with class actions is they do   expose companies more particularly major banks,  government bodies. And so arguably it's not a   good thing if class action regulations come  into effect, but we will have to wait and see. And lastly, security of payment on construction  disputes. I actually practice in international  

construction disputes and certainly in  Australia, each state has its own security   of payment legislation in Australia, which keeps  cash flow running through construction projects,   meaning a claimant which would normally be a  subcontractor or a contractor can make a claim.   And if the principal or major head contractor  doesn't pay that claim, it goes to adjudication   and that process becomes binding. It's quite  a forceful piece of legislation in all of our   states and it's very fast moving and the basis  of it is that it stops our subcontractors and   contractors from going insolvent. It keeps  cash flow running through the industry.   In Hong Kong, and I will- and I'll just hasten  to add that nearly every Commonwealth country has   this legislation in force. Now, in Hong Kong,  it's not actually in place that the Hong Kong   law does provide in public works contracts for  contractual security of payment, but there's   currently no legislated security of payment.  And again, we're expecting that to come into  

force in Hong Kong in the coming years, but we're  not sure exactly when that will happen. And so   those three points I've just made really  show that whilst we're certainly singing   from the same hymn sheet, there are some  differences and our clients tend to know   that whether you're doing business in Hong Kong  or Australia, the laws are going to be similar. But those three examples show that there  are certainly some differences and so it   certainly pays to check. And lastly, of course, in  Australia, in the international arbitration space,  

our governing institution is ACICA. And  in Hong Kong it's the HKIAC. The HKIAC,   I would say, is much more known and it's much  more widely used. In Australia, arbitration,   international arbitration in particular,  still hasn't really taken off. We are   quite inward looking country, certainly  when it comes to our laws. But in 2021,   ACICA updated its regulations recently to  kind of give primacy to virtual hearings,   which we've all become used to. But certainly  when COVID started it wasn't the norm and the  

HKIAC introduced a similar sort of protocol that  did the same thing. And so those updates are very   much in alignment. And I would also say that the  rules that the HKIAC and ACICA have produced are   very much on equal footing and represent sort of  the gold standard of what we would expect to be-   expect to see from institutional bodies in the IA  space. In terms of what we're seeing and what we  

think will happen from here. I mean, obviously,  2047 is it's unclear to us what will happen then. And it's very difficult to crystal  ball gaze in the very long term.   But in the near future, we in the dispute space  are certainly seeing Australia's hydrogen as the   next big market. It's getting a lot of interest  from our Asia Pacific clients, particularly from  

a financing perspective. At the moment in our  pipeline we have AUS$160 billion of Australian   of hydrogen projects, which I think is about 90  billion British pound, and these are projects that   really there's a sense of urgency to roll out.  We're hoping to roll them out well in advance of   of 2050, and we're going to need Hong Kong's  help to do that, to get them to make these   projects bankable, to have the amount of labor  that we need. And certainly the technology that  

we need will come from Asia and from Europe. So  that's something we're hearing from our clients   will be very important. We're also expecting that  HKIAC's role is likely to expand in the next 20 or   30 years. We think that as a stable institution  that's delivering reliable arbitral awards, that  

is likely to continue on probably beyond 2047. So  as lawyers, we're seeing a huge amount of risk in   the future, but also a lot of opportunity. And so  I'll hand back to you now, Andrew, if that's okay. Thank you very much indeed, Jean. Very,  very interesting. We can have a separate   discussion on the question of construction  and contractors payment resolution. That   would be quite interesting in the Hong  Kong context. Leaving that aside for the  

moment. Can I now ask our final speaker,  Andrew Chan, to take the floor? Thanks. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you to the other speakers  as well. So I think I have some slides as well.   Thank you. So, hello, everyone. So I'm the current  2022 chairman of the CA ANZ, Chartered Accountants   Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong Group.  So I think Patrick also alluded previously,   we are one of the 14 professional organisations  in Hong Kong. So we are- so next page.   So this is just a brief. The other counsel  is there to support my counsel. So these  

are the- pretty much everyone comes from a very  diverse background, from banking, from consulting   like consultants like PwC to our different,  different industry experience as well. Next page.   So we are supported also by the Hong Kong Advisory  Group, which we set up around two years ago. These   are some of the prominent members in the Hong  Kong business community who actually are they're   all AUS Chartered accountants, Australia, New  Zealand, who are very experienced and they help   us on a very much on a strategic level. How do  we drive our membership in Hong Kong and also   the strategy of head office in Australia,  and how do we connect those businesses,   as we mentioned the connections here? Next page.  So a brief introduction on Qantas 2010 Charter   Qantas. We are we have over 135,000 members  worldwide. We are Australian and New Zealand.

We are also the only chartered accountant  body in Australia. So pretty much all Big   Fours used to have our charter accountants  as well. We have 1100 members in Hong Kong   and 250 members in China. We also  have a strategic alliance with ACCA,  

which we are- pretty much share the same office  in Hong Kong as well. We also have offices,   international offices across United Kingdom,  Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Next page.   So yeah, as I mentioned before, we are  part of the Global Accounting Alliance.   So we have a reciprocal membership with Hong  Kong HKICPA, which is the main accounting   body in Hong Kong. So essentially all our  members and their members can convert to our  

membership without any exams. We also, similar  to same as Institute of Chartered Accountants,   England and Wales as well. So pretty much all  the other ones on the list as well. Next page.   So pretty much last year as well with  COVID and everything. We also launch   an online exam program. So now our members  can actually now do their CA program online,   completely online, but with mentors in Hong Kong  with our 1100 members here. So that can provide   that coverage for our members in Hong Kong. Next  page. So a bit of a demographic of our members.

So pretty much 11% are around the CPA practicing  firms and then 13% are C-suite level. And then we   have around 10%, which are young CA members. So we  also have a young charter committee as well, which   organised a lot of younger events for our members  as well. Next page. So pretty much our presence   Hong Kong we with we actually have a pretty much  a connection between Hong Kong and Australia as   well. And the same time we actually have a lot  of local advocacy that we, we are pretty much   channel our member advocacy to our local members  and also the local government as well. So FRC,   the AFRC in Hong Kong and also the ministry in  Hong Kong, Financial Ministry in Hong Kong as   well. We channel their members pretty much their  feedback and everything. We have that channel. We  

have a very close relationship with the Australian  Consul and also in New Zealand Consul as well,   and also through a lot of chambers as well that we  have a lot of connections as well with, I want to   say I do want to show two members videos pretty  much explain about the business opportunities   and also pretty much the Australian Hong Kong  connection as well. So I let play the video. I believe then, as I do now, in the importance of  passion, patience, persistence and partnership,   these are the guiding principles that continue to  drive me. My name is Agnes Chan. I have been a CA   ANZ member since 1988. For the past 13 years, I  have served as managing partner for Hong Kong and   Macau. Most recently, I have taken up the role  as Senior advisor of EY Greater China Chairman  

Office. So in my role at EY and through serving  in various public bodies, we have contributed   our professional expertise and perspective  to help strengthen Hong Kong's position   as an international financial center. I truly  believe that CA ANZ is able to make a difference,   it does this through extensive membership network,  the abundant learning resources, the international   connections, the professional standards that  it sets to its members, and the shared goal   to achieve public good. To me, the value of CA  ANZ it's also about keeping us connected with   our peers and supporting the next generation of  talent. I am a CA and I am a difference maker.

ESG is in the heart of our operations, and  it's part of our DNA. I'm George Hongchoy,   CEO of Link Asset Management Ltd. We manage  the Link Real Estate Investment Trust,   which is the largest REIT in Asia, by valuation.  I'm also a member of CA ANZ, based in Hong Kong.  

We are part of a global accounting alliance with  ten members. So by getting these CA qualification,   you are already a recognised member with  international mobility. It allows Hong   Kong ICPA members to gain a globally recognised  accountancy qualification with access to over   130,000 members without any extra examination.  In my role as the CEO of Link, I have enjoyed  

really transforming the company from a local  business to investing all around the world   and to do it in a sustainable manner. We're  trying to make sure that we have an impact,   positive impact to the community that we serve.  Balancing between how we run our business and what   the society requires us really setting it up for  the future. I'm a CA, and I'm a difference maker. Andrew, would you like to make some concluding  remarks and then we can go on to Q&A? The so pretty much I think like Chartered  Accountants Australia-New Zealand as well   as in a lot of other professional organisations,   we do a lot of connections between Hong Kong and  Australia and really that business connection   really about adding value to our members  and also to the business community as well.   So look forward connecting with everybody  going forward as well. Thank you. Thank you very much, Andrew. I'll exercise, if I  may, moderator's privilege and start a question  

which I'd like to address to Andrew Cripps, is  that which you may all have views on, but you   focused on northern Australia. Of course, if we  talk about Australia in general, I mean Julia was   highlighting the 200 years of relationship that  we've had and a lot of it focuses, as we know,   in Sydney and New South Wales generally,  there is quite a lot of interest in Darwin,   a lot of our corporate leaders in particular,  they travel there, they have second homes there.   But taking a broader view, do you see the role of  northern Australia increasing in Hong Kong and the   Hong Kong context in the years ahead? And if it  does, because we've covered so many sectors today,   which in what way will that show itself? I  mean, would it just be natural resources and   property as it has been, or will it also be in in  newer markets? How do you see that working out? This history of the relationship between Hong  Kong and Australia is is very long. It is   200 years old. There were significant ethnic  Chinese communities in northern Queensland and   in Victoria during the gold rushes and they worked  in market gardens all up and down the areas that   where I live in northern Queensland, that history  is very rich and you're quite right to point out   a lot of connections between Darwin and Hong  Kong and Southeast Asia. I think that some of the  

points that Jean made as well around institutional  relationships in the law and banking and finance,   Patrick spoke about that. I think that there is a  very broad spectrum of platforms on which future   relationships between Hong Kong and Australia will  flourish into the future. I think the extent of   that relationship will always be governed by our  national relationship that's fluid at the moment.  

There's lots of very influential conversations  going around that. But the focus of that   relationship historically has always been in terms  of trade and if that continues to be the platform   on which we base our relationship, it will  only be more and more successful going forward. Thank you for that response and saying that.   Moving now back to the broader perspective,  Patrick gave us a very good overview, I think   from the perspective of individual companies,  whether they're Australian companies or Hong   Kong companies. I mean, most companies are  actually, here especially, are not mega companies,  

they're small and medium sized enterprises. So  we've talked about advantages and difficulties.   What are the things which you can see either  Australia doing to make it more user friendly to   Hong Kong investors, especially smaller corporate  SMEs and vice versa? What can Hong Kong do to   attract more investment and talent from young  entrepreneurs and small businesses in Australia? Thanks, Andrew. Look, I think it's I mean, it goes  to some of those points that I raised earlier. I   mean, Australia is a sort of well-managed,  safe and reliable investment destination   with very strong and rigorous rule of law, and I  think that's attractive to Hong Kong investors.   We've also got a number of world class  universities, so we have a talent pool   that's available for investors who are looking  to set up into Australia to tap into talent, and   that's in existing skill sets as well as emerging  technologies as well, especially around biotech   and fintech. The consumer base in Australia is,  you know, technologically savvy and wealthy,   so sort of aligns with with where Hong Kong's  SMEs are and what they're trying to tap into.   There's obviously a number of schemes that  are available across the the varying levels of   government in Australia, from local government  to state government to the federal government   looking to attract investment from overseas  and Hong Kong included. So there's facilitation  

that is able to be supported through that. And  Austrade here in Hong Kong who have an office,   are more than happy to talk to people  who are looking to invest in Australia.   And I guess I mentioned before that there's a  number of large investors, Hong Kong investors   into Australia. So I think that provides  opportunities as well with relationships   built with some of those investors here in Hong  Kong to leverage that, to look at what the big   players have done and to go in with or as part  of that, or to just use that as an example to go   ahead. But notwithstanding, I mean, I think we're  still getting a lot of interest from Hong Kong   investors coming in to Australia across the board  at large levels and small levels. And I think for  

the reasons outlined, that's why we continue  to be an attractive investment destination,   particularly at the moment, given that  the headwinds in the global economy. Oh, thanks, Patrick. Thank you, Patrick, for that.  Maybe turning now to Jean, You talked a bit about   the HKIAC and you acknowledge that we  actually have more than one internationally   recognised arbitration center here, of  course. But I mean, that's the main one.   How- obviously we are attractive to  Australian corporates looking for dispute,   alternative dispute resolution. And do you  see that role increasing despite some of the   maybe weaknesses you highlighted given  the Hong Kong's role as the famous Super   connector into the mainland and beyond?  Because a lot of these corporate disputes   obviously do involve the mainland or countries  beyond the mainland. How do you see that? I mean, I think it's going to continue to expand.  And I say that because for many of our Australian  

clients, doing business in the PRC is quite  intimidating, for a range of reasons the   legal system is more complex. There's a language  barrier, there's a bit more risk involved, whereas   doing business through Hong Kong, particularly if  you have a dispute resolution clause that calls   for international arbitration governed by the  institutional rules of the HKIAC usually governed   by the laws of England and Wales, that provides a  huge amount of comfort and certainty to clients,   regardless of whether they're Australian or  other international clients, and allows them   to participate in a marketplace that often does  result in ultimately buying goods or services   from the PRC. So I think regardless of where we  end up post 2047, there is going to be a role for   HKIAC and I think it's going to be critically  important actually, because for many of our   clients it's kind of the stable footing or sorry  or the institutions that play a lesser role in the   Hong Kong market. But certainly for most of our  clients it would be HKIAC, they will be able to be   a steadying force, I think, and provide certainty  where it will be much needed, particularly   for sort of long term offtake agreements  that kind of may extend pre and post 2047.

Thanks, Jean. Now, now, maybe I could ask Andrew  Chan a question, but with a slightly Commonwealth   twist to it. As I mentioned earlier, Andrew,  you've been involved in Commonwealth bodies in   Hong Kong and you know about the Commonwealth  advantage, which I think we all do, which is   an evidence based thing. It's no longer a theory  that you intra Commonwealth trade gives you a head   start, you get a 20 plus percent advantage in your  trade. Now, do you see that advantage as being-   as materialising in financial services generally  and accounting services in particular in any way? Thank you, Andrew. I think particularly  having a Charter Acountant Australia New  

Zealand perspective, right. So I think just being  I think we are part of the G8, a global alliance,   and also because I think England and Wales,  the interest in themselves as well and   HKICPA that global reciprocal membership,  we're pretty much like a global passport.   So instant recognition from pretty much  from because we are the professional body,   whether we are in financial services, whether we  are in risk management or whether in any other   pretty much any other field, we get that instant  recognition and that trust with our stakeholders,   whether its the the public or investors  or even different people. So and even  

regulators as well in Hong Kong. So I  think that recognition is very important.   And having that because we are the part of  that global alliance, which actually means   that extra step trust of as a trusted advisor  or pretty much simply like that. And that helps   with the business relationship going forward  with that trust as well. And also obviously   part of the Commonwealth Australia being and New  Zealand being part of the Commonwealth as well. Well, thanks. I've got a follow  up question for Patrick. You  

mentioned in your presentation you made  specific reference to Australian wine.   Of course, as a Commonwealth country, its famous  even when I first went there officially about 40   years ago, it was already now it's extremely  famous not only for its wine but for other   F&B high end products. So once we get past  the current difficulties, COVID and so on,   do you see there are prospects for an expansion in  this area of trade between our two jurisdictions? Specifically in wine? Wine and F&B generally,  especially high end F&B. I mean,   I'm a little bit party play because I was  in that business up until quite recently. Look, I mean, I think so I think that the  wines are unique one given, given some of the   measures that are in place at the moment around  exporting Australian wine. So I think Hong Kong   been definitely been a beneficiary of that, which  is much to the good news of consumers of Hong Kong   and I think as Hong Kong continues to open up for  our high quality food and beverage offering. You  

know, restaurants are going to be looking to get  more of that in at the moment. We've maintained   pretty steady over the COVID period  in F&B, which has been great,   largely because people have been staying  here in Hong Kong and cooking at home.   But I think once you start to see the restaurant  industry pick up again, hotels starting to have   guests when COVID restrictions are over and  people are coming back into the city and it's   starting to be a little bit back to where  it was. I think that demand for that high   quality Australian food and beverage offering is  just going to continue to grow. And I think that   that's what the Hong Kong consumers are looking  for, that clean and green and high quality food   and beverage. And that's what we offer. So  we we anticipate that will continue to grow.

Thank you, Patrick. And I hope if I can  advertise here that you'll ask your you and   your colleagues at the consulate to attend the  Chamber's forthcoming Commonwealth wine event,   which will be coming your way soon.  I have one or two more questions,   especially for the Senator. But before  I do, can I ask our Chairman Julia,   whether she has got any questions  she'd like to put to our panelists? Sure. Yes. Thank you very much, Andrew. So it's  not- it's a sort of partly a comment and partly   a question, Mr. Cripps. So it was really  fascinating to hear about- to be reminded   actually about the extent of resources in  northern Australia. And clearly there are  

capital raising opportunities for those resource  companies in Hong Kong. And I wondered if you   think there are ways that we should be doing  more to link up this very obvious connection   because it's clearly an additional capital  raising outlet from the Australian markets. Yes, I think that there'll be a lot of experience  and mature institutions in Hong Kong that will   have relationships with major industry bodies  in Australia across many industry sectors.   One of the things I mentioned during my  presentation was the institutional environment   that has developed over the last decade in respect  of the development of North Australia, and that is   also the case with respect to forums dedicated  to investment in northern Australia in projects.   Austrade has some dedicated forums that are held  in northern Australia on a semi-regular basis   to to specifically focus on projects in potential  investors in northern Australia could become more   connected with and have opportunities to go to see  that information presented in a professional way. Okay, So. Well, I would just make another  comment in that area that I think perhaps  

it would be useful, depending on what Mr.  Cripps was going to say, to look at perhaps   more interactivity with the potential for stock  exchange listings for companies from the Northern   Territory, particularly perhaps in the resources  sector in Hong Kong. So, Andrew, back to you. Thank you. Thank you, Julia. I'm sure that there  seemed to me from this webinar so many different   takeaways, multi-sectoral takeaways.  I'm almost lost to know how to conclude   except to say that we should have more of  these. And certainly capital seems to be the  

natural resources thing is totally fascinating.  I'll just because we are running out of time,   actually, I'll just throw one last question  in, if I may, really for everybody to answer   and to be fair. Maybe I'll ask Jean and  Andrew first. Not a professional question,   but you are both professionals who moved back and  forth between Hong Kong and Australia. Obviously,   with COVID and the rest of it, that is not as  easy as it was when all this COVID business   clears up. And of course, it is slowly but surely  slowly being perhaps the operative word doing so.   Do you see travel between Australia and  Hong Kong resuming or even expanding upon   its pre-COVID levels, or do you think those  days are gone? Or maybe. Yeah. Jean, Maybe.

Yeah. I think it has to go back to the way it  was just by virtue of the exchange of knowledge,   information, labour. We have a huge labour  shortage here at the moment, so that is one of our   biggest problems to be resolved. And we also have  a lack of international students in dormitories,  

which we need to fill as well. And so I think  it's inevitable that in the next 12 to 18 months,   we'll grow back to pre-COVID levels. But  that's crystal ball gazing on my part. I agree with Jean as well. I think it will go  back, I think pretty much now. It's not just about   the new normal. It's about the next normal.  So I think pretty much we will pretty much,  

I think, go back and then plus something  very something different as well, in a way.   I think I look forward to it as well, because  it's important that the travel goes back.   Borders needs to be open eventually. So that  would actually enable the- yeah, Hong Kong  

become an international financial centre again  and really, really excel on that. And Australia   and New Zealand play a big role in that. So  speaking from- as a chartered accountant. Thank you, Andrew, and I think it's good  to bring the webinar to reluctantly to a   close on such a positive and optimistic note. So  distinguished guests, Minister, I must now do that   and for questions which haven't been  asked. I usually say feel free to write  

in to us. Well do please do that. But we I  think we're looking at the possibility of   at least one more session. And in fact, I've  already discussed this with the senator and one   or two others, and I'm even more convinced of this  now. I'd like to repeat my thanks to everyone,   for all the speakers in particular, for  their thorough replies to the questions.   I'm more optimistic than I was when this started.  I'm very impressed by the sheer range of of  

professional investment, financial and business  opportunities, and how they'll continue to grow as   we re-emerge into post-COVID normality as we've  just been told that we will. I also thank all   our members and guests for signing up despite the  different time zones. And please do keep an eye on   our website for future functions and please do let  us know if you have any topics, be they country   fora, be they sector specific fora or others that  you think you'd like us to address. And with that,   may I now hand the virtual floor back to our  Chairman Julia, for her concluding remarks? Thank you very much, Andrew. Well, it really  was fascinating to hear from this wonderful   panel of speakers, and I was particularly  interested to hear about so much and be   reminded about northern Australia and all  the opportunities there, which I think   Mr. Cripps, the Minister, is absolutely correct.  We don't focus on enough. And it was also very  

apposite to be reminded of how Australia  is of course a first world jurisdiction,   but with still so many untapped opportunities. I  mean that really makes it the land of opportunity   and I think that's something we should all be  reflecting on. And it was also fascinating to   hear from the Consul Economic at the Australian  Consulate in Hong Kong, this sort of excellent   overview of the extent already of the trade  between Australia and Hong Kong. And I think   the idea that we're going to have increases  of that in the food and beverage sector is   absolutely right and wonderful. There's so much  emphasis on healthy food, good food and so on, and  

where better to source that from in Asia than  from Australia? And I thought Jean Hamilton-Smith   was particularly interesting when she was been  talking about some of the differences, the path   that Australia has gone down with no fee, no pay  litigation- forgive me, no win, no fee litigation. That's probably a wrong characterisation of it,  Jean, but that's sort of a simple way of looking   at it. That's clearly a very different path from  Hong Kong, and I don't see that on the horizon in   the near future. But it's useful to know that  that is available in Australia and it would be   available to Hong Kong litigants were they to  have Australia related matters. And I think it  

was particularly fascinating to hear about the  importance of international arbitration in Hong   Kong and where perhaps the synergies exist with  the with the Australian system. And wonderful   also to hear from Andrew and be reminded of  the institutional links not just through law   but also through the accounting professions  and the importance of chartered accountants   Australia and New Zealand in supporting  this professional cooperation, which is   terribly important. So all in all, I've really  found this fascinating. Thank you all so much.   It was wonderful to hear from our great speakers  and thank you very much for joining for everybody   who's joining online. So we look forward to seeing  everybody again soon. Take care and goodbye.

2022-12-16 16:26

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