Dear AKBC members,
The federal election is now well underway with Australians set to head to the polls on May 21. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison attempts to deliver a fourth consecutive term of government for the Coalition, our friends in Korea are becoming acquainted with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who led the conservatives to power after five years in opposition. Reports suggest that the incoming administration will focus on the following future growth engines of the economy: 6G telecommunications, secondary batteries, displays, bioscience, defense and space industries, next-generation reactors, hydrogen energy, smart farming, artificial intelligence and cultural content.
In clearer signs of the likely shift away from its predecessor’s policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ in managing the balancing act between the United States and China, President-elect Yoon stated that if Korea were to be invited to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) he “will positively review joining”.
It follows the Korean Government’s decision to officially join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) earlier this month in an effort to further diversify its supply chains in the face of continuing economic uncertainty. The President-elect has previously expressed his support for regional trade agreements such as the CPTPP to support domestic industry and responsibility for negotiating Korea’s membership will fall to his incoming government.
Last week saw Korea lift almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions – the only exception being mask wearing in public – in a major step towards normality. Following the removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers at the beginning of April, we’re excited for a resurgence in Australian businesses visiting Korea. There are still some requirements for in-bound travellers around PCR tests, so with the help of our members, the AKBC have compiled some steps to take pre-departure and upon arrival in Korea.
In light of this, we’re continuing planning for our critical minerals and hydrogen delegation to Korea led by our Chair, the Hon Simon Crean, from June 6. It’s shaping up to be an action-packed four-day program of engagements with key industry and government stakeholders, so if you’re interested in engaging at the highest level of the Australia-Korea relationship in this space, reach out to me directly to get some more information.
This month we also hosted our second Australia-Korea Women in Leadership event in Melbourne – there’s more on this below and I’m excited to share that our next lunch will be held in Brisbane, so keep an eye on our socials for the official date and location in the coming weeks. We continue to deliver our bespoke Korean cultural training sessions for a range of our members – for more information on this you can jump on our website or reach out to me directly.
Earlier this month, I was delighted to attend AKBC member Hanwha Defense’s groundbreaking sod turning for their new Hanwha Armored Vehicle Center of Excellence (H-ACE) at Avalon Airport. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, representatives of Hanwha Defense, Korean government, media and other dignitaries. It’s a huge milestone for the company and a prime example of the growing Australia-Korea defence collaboration.
Finally, in exciting news, I want to extend a warm welcome to Eunjung Jang who has joined the AKBC as a Project Officer. Having taught at prestigious schools in both Korea and Australia and led cultural exchanges and tours between both countries, she brings a wealth of knowledge about the education sector. I’m incredibly excited to welcome her to the team and look forward to introducing her to each of you over the coming weeks.