[AKBC event recap] Australia-Korea Industry Roundtable with Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
22023
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[AKBC event recap] Australia-Korea Industry Roundtable with Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

On Thursday, September 10, the Australia-Korea Business Council (AKBC) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AustCham) had the pleasure of jointly hosting a members-only Australia-Korea Industry Roundtable with the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.

The event was co-chaired by the AustCham Korea Chairman Chris Raciti and the AKBC Chairman the Hon Simon Crean, and approximately 100 business and government representatives from a diverse range of industry sectors including energy, financial services, technology and healthcare from both Australia and Korea, joined the call to hear directly from the Minister on the Australia-Korea trade and investment relationship.

Despite the many disruptions and restrictions caused by COVID-19, the Minister stated that supply chains and relationships have been sustained and showed resilience due to the agility of Australian businesses and their continued dedication to the Korean market. At a government level, Australia and Korea continue to be strong partners and work together in a transparent manner to ensure that barriers are removed efficiently, paving the way for trade to flourish between our two countries.

The Minister emphasised that key mechanisms including the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), which was recently expanded to include Korea, and the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), continue to play an essential role in improving access to the Korean market. The Minister pinpointed hydrogen as a significant opportunity in the bilateral relationship, stating that both Australia and Korea have set ambitious targets and are dependent on each other to achieve them. The Minister also highlighted the ongoing opportunities for bilateral trade in traditional areas including agriculture and emerging opportunities, such as health care, innovation and the growing potential of biotech, which has recently come to the forefront with Korea’s increasing recognition of Australia’s expertise in clinical trials.

In a Q+A session, AustCham and AKBC representatives asked the Minister sector-specific questions regarding the impact of recent economic and geopolitical developments on pharmaceuticals, financial services cooperation, international education, clean energy (including funding opportunities), Australian goods exports and tourism.

We would like to thank Minister Birmingham for his time and insights. Although we could not host the event in person, we appreciated the opportunity for virtual engagement across Australia and Korea.