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