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Business Club Australia brings home gold.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR TRADE

12 September 2008

Business Club Australia Brings Home Gold Austrade’s Business Club Australia (BCA) in Beijing has ended, after delivering more than 50 events and hosting over 4,000 Australian and Chinese business people during the Olympic Games.

“The Olympics is about sport, but it is also about exports. Business Club Australia has effectively showcased Australian skills and expertise during the biggest show on earth,” said Minister for Trade, Simon Crean.

“This program has raised Australia’s profile as a country to do business with. Government, industry, small and medium enterprises and Australia’s biggest corporations came together and made Business Club Australia the focal point for business activities in Beijing.

“BCA also ran events in Shanghai and Hong Kong - no other country ran a business program during the Games of such scale and focus and Business Club Australia has been recognised internationally for its innovative and successful format.”

During the Games, Mr Crean and Sports Minister Kate Ellis hosted several BCA functions to highlight Australia’s expertise in the business of sport and sports infrastructure and the strength of Australia’s financial services sector.

The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, also attended BCA events in Beijing to discuss the Australia-China resources trade and cooperative research in low-emission coal technology.

Austrade representatives also met with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which acknowledged the impact of Business Club Australia and its role in supporting the Olympic legacy. The IOC has requested a case study about the program.

The networks and personal connections formed at Business Club Australia have already begun to deliver benefits at home and internationally.

John Bilmon from PTW Architects, designers of the “Water Cube” National Aquatic Centre, confirmed PTW has secured work on two more projects in China: resort destinations on Hainan Island, Long Mu Bay and Kunming’s Lake Dian. Discussions are also continuing with another Chinese developer for a waterfront project in Guangzhou and a role in planning a new city in Xi’an.

“PTW’s Water Cube lit up the Olympic Green in Beijing. This profile and their work with Austrade has led directly to involvement in new projects. As part of BCA’s business matching, Austrade introduced John Bilmon to a developer at the Opening Ceremony, leading to the discussions about working in Guangzhou and Xi’an.”

“Sunshine Coast advertising and branding firm Six Degrees were one of 12 small and medium enterprises chosen to participate in the Business Club Australia/Telstra Business Olympic trade program “Win Business Gold in China”.

“Six Degrees Director Chris Dixon met with a Hong Kong based firm while at the Games, and is now in discussions to handle the branding for eight food and beverage outlets at a ski resort in China. Mr Dixon said this could result in the biggest contract Six Degrees has secured.”

Business Club Australia was also the venue for the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MOUs). Mr Crean witnessed a memorandum signing between AIMS Financial Group and Beijing University, to establish a biotechnology fund in China. This was followed by an agreement between National Australia Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank of China.

The Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA) and the Securities Association of China (SAC) also strengthened their ties with an MOU. AFMA is the peak industry association representing over 130 industry participants in Australia's wholesale banking and financial markets, and SAC represents around 300 financial services industry companies in China.

“Closer cooperation in the financial sector is also one of the major advances Australia has been seeking under the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated with China”, Minister Crean said.

Several companies used the Olympic period to formalise deals at Business Club Australia. These included a major distribution agreement between Strait Drinks, a premium Tasmanian vodka producer and their Chinese distributor Yalla Solution.

Sydney company Crest Mining also announced a significant coal mine investment in the Yihe Coal project in Inner Mongolia, the first of its kind by an Australian company in the region.

Minister Crean hosted a clean energy function at BCA and then led twelve Australian companies working in the clean energy field to Guangzhou, fostering business networks and engendering local support for Australian capabilities in this sector.

The focus now is on London 2012. BCA held several events introducing Australian expertise in sports and events to representatives from the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and the UK Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Sydney based company Intelligent Risks are specialist providers of security and risk management services. Neil Fergus, Chief Executive of Intelligent Risks said they have already been providing services to the ODA and LOCOG security team and without a doubt BCA provided great assistance in facilitating discussions on additional export contracts in the UK, Brazil and elsewhere.

Intelligent Risks are one of the ten Australian companies that have already won deals associated with the London 2012 Games and Australia is well placed to take further advantage of the business opportunities at the next Olympics.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and bringing together more than 4000 business people during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will continue to deliver long term benefits for Australian business.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555