Smarter and deeper engagement with our overseas neighbours will help create new business opportunities and better outcomes for our economy, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
In responding to Federal Labor’s FutureAsia policy framework, James Pearson, Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber said:
“The Asian region represents a significant opportunity for Australian business. Australians need to be better equipped to do business in our region, and further afield. The gains we make in this area will lead to better outcomes for our economy.
“We cannot be complacent about Asia. Nations that are serious about building trade and encouraging investment have a focus on the region and we will be left behind if we are uncompetitive or perceived to be disinterested. Indonesia should be foremost in our thinking but we should look for opportunities in other parts of the world too. We should be considering our global future.
“We should be looking at prospects right across our wider region. Australia is a leader in the Indian Ocean Rim and we should be strengthening the institutional frameworks for this part of the world. A free trade area of the Indian Ocean Rim would help Australian businesses win new markets.
“We would welcome increased Asian language skills being learned at school. This is just one element of an overall approach to improving Asian literacy and capability across the current and future workforce.
“Establishing a policy framework and a reporting mechanism is the right move. The Treasurer’s annual statement should incorporate measures of tangible outcomes. That will help determine if policies are helping to deliver real outcomes for Australian business and benefits for our economy, while addressing our broader geopolitical priorities.”