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Transcript - Australia China 2.0 Melbourne 14 July

The next phase of our economic partnership

Melbourne - 14 July 2011

Duration: 4 min. 30 sec.


KEVIN RUDD, Foreign Minister: Let me sort of just go to the core of it, why we are doing this. It is because China is changing its economic growth model, and China as a result of that will open up a whole range of new and different economic opportunities for international business, including Australia. China will reach 70% urbanisation by mid-century. So not only do we have rising rapidly per capita income levels across China, and in its cities in particular, you’re also seeing a rapidly rising urbanisation.

As of 2001 more than half of Asia’s trade was intra-regional, that is, one economy of Asia with another. If you look to 2009, that had edged up a bit further, approaching 53.3% and so the trajectory increases again into the future, and so therefore the strong but relative significance of China to Korea, China to Japan, Japan to Korea, etc, is a phenomenon of itself. I often hear the criticism from Australian corporate that the problem with folk who have got really good Chinese, whether they are Australian-born Chinese or whether they are obviously Australian-Chinese citizens, or whether they are Caucasians like me who decided to have their own misspent youth studying Chinese, is that if you’re into the widget industry – like you are in whatever you sell to China – or if you’re into the recycling of tyres, you can say “Well these guys are terrific. These guys and girls are terrific at language, they can entertain most people at a dinner party but they don’t have a fig of knowledge about my particular industry.” Well my response to that is so what, your job is to train them. Bring them in, regard it as a three year apprenticeship and teach them everything there is to know about the tyre recycling business or the widget business or the education business. It’s a bit like attracting a raw recruit to any business, just take them under your wing, remunerate them, look after them and teach them something they don’t know because they’ve got services to provide to you that you don’t have.

KATHY KIRBY, Executive Director, Asia Education Foundation: We’re going to need Australians with bilingual skills and this is something that we’re going to have to plan for through the school education system and the university system here in Australia. We’ve got a long way to go with that but I think we’re really at a moment where there’s going to be a lot of demand from the business sector for Chinese language skills, and I was really pleased to hear the Minister today supporting that.

EMMA PITT, ANZ International Banking Services: Well I think particularly interesting for us was the mention of the focus on the services industry in the 12th five year plan. Also...

MATTHEW BUCK, ANZ International Banking Services: Also the fact that China growth isn’t being driven out of the existing mega-cities but also the emerging mega-cities in the inland areas with 102 cities with a population greater than 5 million people, and that’s great with...

EMMA PITT: Yeah, that’s particularly interesting for ANZ as we have a presence in Chengdu and Chongqing.

PETER VOIGT, CEO, CleanTeQ: If you’ve been to China you can actually see what he’s saying; it’s happening on the ground. The old China of the intensive industry - “let’s make it as cheap as we can, let’s get it to the rest of the world and they’ll pay for it” approach is certainly coming to an end. The standard of living is really escalating greatly and the Chinese are asking questions about their own lifestyle and they’re own quality of life. To me, again, I think what Mr Rudd was talking about in terms of understand culture, understand people, we’re all the same, we’re all blood and bone, and we all really aspire to the same sorts of things; that’s really going to be, I think, one of the major benchmarks that we need to understand in China. Having been there a number of times, China’s different and if you’re not prepared to accept the difference and work with the difference then you won’t be successful.


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