EABC European Australian Trade & Investment Forum, Sydney 16 Nov

Representatives from the SACC Board were delighted to participate in the EABC’s EU-Australia Trade & Investment Forum on 16 November supported by BDO, the EU Delegation to Australia and Investment NSW.  

Here is a summary of the discussions and presentations:

HE Mr Gabriele Visentin, EU Ambassador to Australia, gave us an update on the outlook for EU-Australia economic relations. While reflecting on the disappointing developments in Osaka, Ambassador Visentin underlined the booming two-way trade flows in recent years and the continued commitment to finalising an EU-Australia FTA as an integral part of EU trade portfolio. Following the Ambassador’s address, EABC CEO Jason Collins emphasised the necessity of continuing pressure and collective efforts to finalise the FTA, highlighting that it is the biggest missing piece of Australia’s trade agreement network. Ambassador Visentin and Jason then discussed the importance of maintain strong advocacy for modernising and expanding the bilateral architecture, both through an FTA and beyond, to remove unnecessary obstacles and establish the frameworks to facilitate the flow of ideas, technology, goods and services, people and investment from which both markets stand to gain. Additionally, they highlighted the importance of facilitating closer business and organisational cooperation to solve common challenges and capitalise on the exciting and vast opportunities we share in strategic sectors.

The second session, moderated by EABC’s Caragh Johnson, focused on specific business opportunities and programmes being driven by Australian federal and state government agencies – including Austrade’s Head of Investment Europe, Middle East & Africa and Head of Critical Minerals, Emma McDonald, followed by the NSW Government’s Dr Shoshana Fogelman, Senior Manager of Ecosystem Development for the Westmead Health & Innovation District, Michelle Cheng, Senior Manager of Innovation District Ecosystem at Tech Central, and Tim Stock, Director of Hydrogen & Clean Energy for the NSW Office of Energy and Climate Change.

Emma McDonald provided an insightful update on Australia’s investment environment, the government’s plans for strategic growth sectors (including critical minerals, solar, wind, batteries, Australia’s transmission network and hydrogen industry), and key opportunities for European business and investors.

Dr Shoshana Fogelman provided an overview of the exciting opportunities and support for European businesses and investors to be part of the Westmead Health and Innovation District, with the NSW Government accelerating the development at what is already one of Australia’s largest health and research zones. Innovation ecosystem initiatives include the Western Sydney Startup Hub, the Westmead Biomedical Incubator and Australia’s first commercial-scale Viral Vector Manufacturing Facility.

Michelle Cheng then updated participants on the opportunities and support offered to those interested in being part of Australia’s largest technology and innovation hub, Tech Central. The concentrated hub offers three major nodes of capability focused on Deep Tech (Eveleigh Node), Digital and Creative Tech (Haymarket Node), and Medical and BioTech (Camperdown Node).

Finally, Tim Stock provided an overview of NSW’s Hydrogen Strategy and the efforts the Government is undertaking to unlock the potential for NSW to develop a competitive and thriving green hydrogen industry. He outlined the huge investments and incentives on offer to support industry development and reduce the cost of green hydrogen by over $4 per kg in the next decade.

The SACC expresses a big thank you for the invitation and to EABC for organising such an insightful forum.