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Transcript of the Prime Minister the Hon John Howard MP - opening of the Australian Stock Exchange/China Securities Regulartory Commission Symposium - Beijing, China

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1 April 1997


............................... BEIJNG, C H IN A ....................... ...................

‘ E&OE

Thank you very much Maurice Newman, the Chairman o f the Australian Stock Exchange, to the M inister for Metallurgical Industry, M r Liu Qi, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

May I say how particularly pleased I am to open this very important seminar. Can I congratulate the Australian Stock Exchange and all o f those associated in putting this seminar together. I suppose when you think about the market system, when you think about free economies, nothing quite expresses in a more robust and uncomplicated way a market

approach to economic management than a stock exchange.

It’s impossible to conceive what has become known as the market economy or the market economies o f the world without thinking o f stock exchanges. Because it is through stock exchanges that equities are traded, capital is raised and judgments are made about the strengths and the future prospects of companies and the stock exchanges o f the world are an indispensable, indeed a crucial clement o f the increasingly globalised economy in which we

all live. A nd when in 1978 the late Deng Xiao Ping began the great opening o f the Chinese economy, it was inevitable over time that that opening would embrace a greater concentration on the role o f stock exchanges in the economy o f China and ultimately, o f course, the listing o f Chinese securities and companies on the stock exchanges o f the world. And that is why I’m so delighted that this seminar brings the Australian Stock Exchange and the people who run it and advise it and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and I particularly

welcome the presence o f its Chairman w ith us today. We bad a very brief but lively Higmssinn about the role o f his Commission and the interaction o f such commissions with the Stock Exchanges both o f China and o f Australia.



\ This seminar will be an excellent opportunity for Chinese delegates and our Chinese guests to ' gain an understanding not only o f the listing requirements and the intricacies of the Australian Stock Exchange but also the vast array o f services that are associated with the operations o f securities markets in Australia.

The Australian Stock Exchange is a very sophisticated operation. It has a high reputation for integrity. It also, I think today, celebrates its 10th birthday as a national exchange having 10 years ago brought together the individual State exchanges of Australia that operated for so long. It has great advantages for Chinese companies, it operates in roughly the same time

zone as Beijing. It’s electronic trading system is at the leading edge. It’s surveillance system and company recording requirements are outstanding and o f course it has particular expertise in areas such as mining and construction and building, industry and engineering which is of such great and ongoing importance to Chinese companies and Chinese investors.

Associated with this seminar are representatives o f many o f the large and reputable legal and accounting firms of Australia and as you move amongst tire delegates from Australia, our Chinese guests will meet representatives o f what are household names in the legal and accounting professions in Australia. And once again, in that area we bring services that have high reputations in Australia, they are of world class professional capacity and they are part of tire very, very deep layers of professional services available to investors in Australia.

This is another occasion in which T want to emphasise the partnership between the Australian government and tlie business community of Australia in interacting with the Chinese government and the business men and women o f China.

I have brought with me on this trip to China a very strong delegation o f business men and women. In fact it's the strongest and most senior business delegation ever to accompany an Australian Prime M inister abroad and that has happened quite deliberately because o f my belief and m y government’s belief that in our dealings with China it is important to

emphasise that we and the business community are doing it together. That doesn’t mean that our predisposition in Australia towards allowing the business community freedom to make its own decisions and to reduce the burden o f government regulation on business has in any way

changed. But it is a recognition that in dealing with China it is important for the government and the business community to work together.

Can I say to our Chinese guests and the participants in this seminar that the process o f economic change and reform is moving very dramatically in your country and although the rate o f change in Australia, by definition, is no where near is as great because the base from which we have started is different, there is nonetheless an ongoing process o f economic

change and reform. One o f the things that my government will address in the next few weeks, after m y return to Australia is an examination o f the Wallis Committee Report into the Australian financial system.

About 17 years ago when I was Treasurer in the Australian government w c received the Campbell Report w hich ultimately led to the greatest changes in ihe financial system that Australia has seen, the introduction o f foreign banks, the floating o f the Australian dollar and general deregulation. May I say that it was a policy approach T‘m pleased to remark was

embraced by both sides o f politics in Australian and I have never been reluctant to give my


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predecessor as Prime Minister credit for the work that he did in implementing that particular report. The Wallis Committee Inquiry is in some respects an update, a stocktaking o f what has happened to the Australian financial system since the implementation o f the Campbell Report and we will be taking some decisions on that Report in terms o f a statement o f how

we’re going to handle it already made by the Treasurer. But I mention it ladies and gentlemen to simply underline the fact that although we have a very modem and sophisticated and thoroughly integrated financial system which is part o f the globalised economy in which we all now live, the process of change, surveillance and review must always go on.

Ladies and gentlemen I therefore have enormous pleasure in declaring this seminar open. I congratulate again the Australian Slock Exchange and particularly it's Chairman, M r Maurice Newman, who has not only made a great contribution to the Australian business community as Chairman o f the Australian Stock Exchange and his other professional pursuits but he has

made an extremely thoughtful contribution over many years to the ongoing policy debate within Australia about economic matters and he’s been one o f the strongest and most persistent voices in favour o f a deregulatory market approach to the management o f the Australian economy. And in a society such as Australia debates on those sorts of issues go on

endlessly and it is always important to have loud and strong voices in favour o f an intelligent approach to economic management.

So ladies and gentlemen I have enormous pleasure in declaring this seminar open. I hope that all of our Chinese delegates here today derive great benefits from it. All o f you will be very welcome participants on the Australian Stock Exchange. I can assure you o f a ready but of

course necessarily professional and critical appraisal o f your offerings and if you do decide to list you w ill be listing on an exchange which has impeccable world wide credentials, is conducted with enormous integrity and whose operations are underpinned by highly qualified brokers, financial advisers, lawyers and accountants.

I declare this seminar open. Thank you