Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of New South Wales



Briefings by Chamber to Government Representatives


ACCCI through the Committee system has always placed a strong emphasis on briefing various arms of the Australian and Chinese Governments on Chamber’s policies and activities.

Apart from Presidents Darcy Carter 1976/89 and Michael Jones 1989/2003, there has been a long line of Senior Executive members responsible for this function whether in the late 1970s Arthur Locke Chang as Vice President – Protocol, Roy Dissmeyer as Vice President – Trade and Protocol in the early and mid 1980s, Reg Torrington as Senior Vice President through the late 1980s and early 1990s, Greg Burns Chief Representative ACT 1987/96, John Zerby as Chair Trade Policy Committee 1993/96 and then Senior Vice President – Trade Policy and Commercial 1996/2002, and now Marilyn Walker, Vice President – Public Affairs and Culture 1996/2003 and Chamber’s representative on the NSW-Asia Business Advisory Council 2001/2003

In all his travels in China President Michael Jones has sort to brief the appropriate government officials in Australia prior to departure and to pay courtesy calls to Australian diplomatic personnel in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou when in that country. Similar briefings have been made in Canberra and Sydney for Chinese diplomatic officials, and then to Provincial and Municipal trade officials in China.

In this context President Jones has just completed his briefings of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney re NSW State Director Philip Green and  Business Relations Officer Nicholas Sergi, to Austrade via Trade Commissioner John McCumstie, Chinese Deputy Consul General Du Wei and Consul – Economic & Commercial Chen Li, and the David McGeachie and Lynnette Dorn from the NSW Department of State and Regional Development International Division and Trade Services Department.

Indeed on Thursday 7th August Mr Jones briefed the China Working Group (CWG) from the DSRD. Those in attendance were:

Ms Lynnette Dorn – Senior Manager, Trade Services, Small Business Division

Mr Adrian Wood – Manager, Investment Division

Mr Eric Winton – Senior Manager, Technology and Post Olympic Business

Mr Reg Fisk – Senior Manager, Special Projects, Policy Unit

Mr Adam Rush – Executive Officer, NSW-Asia Business Advisory Council, Small Business Division

Ms Susan Xu – Manager, Hong Kong/China, Trade Services, Small Business Division

Unfortunately Ms Arahni Sont, Business Briefings Manager, Communications Unit and Ms Verra Staheyeff, Manager, Investment Division were making a DSRD China Presentation to another Chinese delegation and could not attend the meeting.

In all these briefings Mr Jones has stressed four points.

Firstly the Nature of China.

China is not just another member country of the United Nations such as Fiji. In reality it is akin to Europe – indeed 50% bigger than Europe from Gibraltar to the Russian Urals – and its 30 plus provinces are like countries. Most Australians and including government officials and businessmen neither have the mental framework nor toughness when approaching China in its great diversity. Chamber has 27 years of this type of experience.

Secondly a Strategy for China

At the last official count there were more than 660 cities in China with more to be proclaimed in the next census. Some cities have virtually the entire Australian population re Chongqing with 32 million, Shanghai with about 18 million including migrant suburbs, and Beijing with up to 13 million, and so on. How is Australia to relate economically to such a rapidly expanding ‘powerhouse’. Obviously there has to be a strategy for all companies entering the various regional China markets. In the case of ACCCI there is the Key Cities Strategy developed over almost 20 years of mistakes and false starts to a programme that now touches almost 200 cities in China.

Thirdly any organisation dealing with China has to have a stable Management Structure and the Logistics to sustain its commercial and business activities. China is a long-term proposition with 10/15 year cycles and not suitable for companies with one year return on investment plans. You have to have a strong management team with lots of travel and entertaining experience. You have to be prepared to negotiate projects for years and then respond to opportunities within 48 hours. Companies with rapid senior level executive turnovers are not comfortable in China. Chamber has had three Presidents since 1976.

Finally and fourthly, China is a serious of markets requiring very deep pockets for all sorts of reasons. It is not just a question of having funding, but rather having funding at the right time and in the right place for whatever commercial project envisaged. It is “big league” territory with the best companies of the world in extremely competitive rivalry – it is not ideal for a “cash- strapped” small to medium sized Australian company with no experience of the economic terrain. In this respect your people are vital – a decision to pull out of China can often be the difference for company survival. ACCCI can help but no promises.

The interface between Government and Private Business in China is exceptionally close with often overlapping responsibilities between government, party, the bureaucracies, academia, business and even the military. This reality takes a great deal of getting used to and therefore the assistance of the various arms of Australian government can be absolutely essential – something which even some of the best Australian governmental agencies do not fully understand or know how to perform.

Thus Chamber despite many years of rebuff continues to try to involve Australian government constructively in our ACCCI forum programmes and Special Projects, and therefore welcomes the opportunity to place the DSRD China Presentations on the ACCCI Website. At the very least it helps Chinese friends understand better the nature of the State of New South Wales and especially Sydney as the commercial and financial capital of Australia and New Zealand.

Two DSRD presentations are available online.  Click here for list.


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