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AKBC E-newsletter May Edition

Dear AKBC members,

Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister, with Labor ending close to a decade of Coalition rule as they secure 76 seats to form a majority government. While a significant victory for the ALP, the election outcome is a seismic shift. The dominance of the major parties has been broken and a more progressive parliament of Independents, Greens and minor parties in both the House of Representatives and the Senate has emerged.

Mr Albanese and four Labor frontbenchers were fast-tracked into office so they could attend the QUAD Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo, where the Prime Minister reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. With the broader Ministry expected to be announced later this week, we are keenly following the ALP Caucus to see who will be replacing Dan Tehan as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

This result comes only weeks after the Korean elections, which saw Yoon Seok-Youl elevated to the Presidency. Yoon’s election has signalled a return to business-driven policies from the Korean government, after five years of pro-working class ideology saw businesses stifled by minimum wage hikes, the empowerment of union movements, and rigid labour laws. Albanese and Yoon taking power has effectively ushered in a new era of growth and opportunity in the Australia-Korea business space, one that we are excited to explore with our members.

This shift in Korean policy was on display during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Korea ahead of his attendance at the QUAD Leaders’ Summit. Whilst many chaebols were wary of pledging allegiance to the US during the previous administration out of fear of upsetting China, Yoon’s economic focus has seemingly restored business confidence throughout corporate Korea, who are pivoting away from China and back towards the US. This is headlined by Hyundai Motor Group’s pledge to invest over $10 billion in the US, including a $5 billion electric vehicle and battery plant in Georgia.

In exciting news, our critical minerals and hydrogen delegation to Korea will be jetting off early next week. Led by the Hon. Simon Crean and Bill Paterson, our 13 AKBC delegates will be enjoying a jam-packed schedule across four days, including site visits to Gwangyang and Changwon, business round tables, and private meetings with key industry and government stakeholders. With the program placing a particular focus on critical minerals and hydrogen, we are thrilled to once again be delving into these important areas with our Korean counterparts face-to-face, after being unable to host this trip in recent years due to COVID.

We are also excited to announce some changes for our team here at the AKBC. Firstly, we are currently seeking a temporary replacement for my position as Executive Director as I take maternity leave in September. Additionally, we are thrilled to welcome Simone Liew into the fold, who will help us expand the reach of our advocacy and make a greater impact within the Australia-Korea bilateral relationship.

This ambition to maximise our members’ opportunities is also represented by our new membership model. With the formal transition occurring on 1 July 2022, the updated model will enable us to invest in additional resources and redouble our focus on the issues that matter most to our members. It will allow us to significantly expand the reach and influence of our advocacy to government and the media, giving you the best chance to leverage the promising opportunities that the Australia-Korea relationship holds.

More information will be made available to our members in the coming days. With four levels of membership available, you can align to the package that meets your current business needs, while knowing that as your business grows, we’ll grow with you to help position you for success.

Please reach out at lgriffin@akbc.com.au if you’d like to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Liz Griffin

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Australia Korea Business Council
PO Box 24430
Melbourne, Vic 3001 Australia
Liz Griffin – Executive Director
info@akbc.com.au

The Australia-Korea Business Council is the leading national body committed to strengthening the Australia-Korea economic relationship.