Consulat général d'Australie
Nouméa
Nouvelle-Calédonie, Polynésie française, Wallis et Futuna

Consul General's Speech ANCBF

 

Australia New Caledonia Business Forum
12 September 2014
Supporting Australian Business in New Caledonia


Introduction
This is the third time I have attended the Australia-New Caledonia Business Forum and it is wonderful to see some good business being done by the Australian-New Caledonian business community.

My presentation follows on from that of the Honourable Parliamentary Secretary in relation to Australia’s bilateral relationship with New Caledonia.

Doing Business in New Caleodnia
As the Parliamentary Secretary outlined in his address, we have a clear strategy for economic diplomacy.

Pursuing trade and investment opportunities for Australian business and facilitating market access are primary objectives.

We work closely with our portfolio partners, especially with Austrade – and Adrian Weeks, the Australian Trade Commissioner for the Pacific is here and will cover my last two slides - to achieve better outcomes for Australian business. We effectively mobilise and share resources to support Australian business to enter or expand business in the New Caledonian market (and the rest of the French Pacific, for that matter).

Close interaction with business groups, including the APIBC, is essential to assist Australian business. These are also a good resource for local information.

Industry insights help us to identify actual or potential obstacles to trade, and may also assist in working to remove obstacles.

Our Priorities
We have developed an Economic Diplomacy Strategy that guides our trade and business priorities in the short, medium and long term.

 

 

This is to:
• work with local government to advocate trade; this is also by encouraging greater openness to the region, as Senator Mason mentioned.
In this regard, we welcome the proposals at last months’ Economic, Fiscal and Social Conference, particularly the intention to increase competitive conditions and to reduce import taxes. Although we are waiting for clarity on taxation changes, and continue to call for reductions in the existing significant tariffs imposed on non-EU country imports.
• advocate the removal of barriers to trade
Beyond tariffs, quotas and taxes, we also target the removal of indirect barriers to trade.
A good example of this is the recently launched mission between Standards Australia, AFNOR and the New Caledonian Government to make Australian Standards in the construction sector available for use in New Caledonia.
The impact of this project for Australian exporters of construction materials will be positive.
You will be hearing more about this later today from representatives involved in the mission.
• promote key trade sectors
The sectors we are particularly focused on in 2014 are mining services, education and tourism, while also looking for opportunities to promote smaller and emerging sectors.
As we are all aware, the majority of products exported from New Caledonia consist of mineral and metallurgic products – predominately nickel.
Australia is one the largest export destinations for New Caledonian nickel products, with Queensland Nickel as the Australian buyer, receiving over 1.2 million tonnes of raw mineral exports in the first half of 2014, more than Japan or the Republic of Korea.
As New Caledonia’s mining sector has moved into the production phase, opportunities continue to exist for Australian companies to supply, from engineering products and services, to training and maintenance.
Education, training and research is also a key focus of Australia’s program in New Caledonia, offering New Caledonians high quality education and training services close to home.

Australia is renowned for its tertiary education, hosting the world’s third largest international student population, and is home to seven of the 100 best universities in the world.

Yesterday’s visit to the SkillsTech Mining Safety Gallery is another example of Australia’s cutting edge training capability – and combines our expertise in the mining and education sectors.

In terms of tourism, Australia is a popular destination for New Caledonians, hosting more than 32 500 visitors each year - rivalling France.

In return, more than 15 700 Australians chose New Caledonia as their holiday destination last year.

Australian passengers account for over 86 per cent of all cruise ship arrivals, totalling nearly 260 000 arrivals in 2013.

The tourism sector has a strong future as New Caledonia’s tourism infrastructure grows.

Air Calin’s launch of the Noumea- Melbourne route has created a new avenue for greater bilateral tourism and gives New Caledonians direct access to one of Australia’s great cities. Although this needs to not be at the expense of regular flights to Brisbane, which are important for business partners.

The opening of the Sheraton Deva resort complex and other slated tourism projects, provide more opportunities for Australians to discover different destinations within New Caledonia.

Australia is also interested in collaborating with New Caledonia in emerging sectors in the local economy. These include agriculture, aquaculture, and renewable energy.


Helping You Do Business
Our available tools to help you are our business and government networks and understanding of the market.

We work on an ongoing basis to promote Australian expertise and know-how in the French Pacific.

We welcome Australian companies calling on us to discuss their progress in the New Caledonian market.

Meeting with you is a great way for us to share knowledge and understand more about what is happening in the business community.

We also offer the brand reputation of Australia through the Australia Unlimited brand.

This is a whole of government branding applied to Australian capability, goods and services, guaranteeing the quality of Australia’s exports. Australia Unlimited expresses the creativity, global engagement and ‘enterprising spirit’ of Australian business today.

Events and Activities
To achieve our ambitious strategy by helping you do business, we actively engage with the New Caledonian business community.

A sample of some key activities includes:
• Meeting business leaders
We meet individual companies and support development of business linkages within New Caledonia by Australian business leaders and representatives to show them the business development opportunities that lie in New Caledonia.

For example, ANZ CEO Mike Smith’s visited last month, and this was a good opportunity to bring together business partners in the finance and other sectors.

• Industry and community events
With education as one of our key trade themes, the Noumea student fair, le Salon de l’étudiant, was a big item on our economic diplomacy calendar.
We promoted Australia as a tertiary education destination, under the ‘Australia Unlimited’ brand, at the Salon, where nine Australian institutions were represented. This was four times our participation in 2013.

Also present were members from the APIBC Noumea Working Group and our alumni network, Association des Caledoniens Diplômés en Australie (ACDA), who are great ambassadors for Australian education and the benefits it provides to the New Caledonian community.
• Provide networking and sponsorship opportunities
We showcase and support Australia’s unique and rich culture through cultural performances and events, offering businesses the chance to sponsor our activities and deepen networks within the community.

In summary, this is a market offering much potential.

Keep in touch with us to find out the latest news, opportunities and events via our website and our Facebook page.

I will now hand you over to Trade Commissioner – Pacific, Adrian Weeks, who will talk you through how Austrade works with us to achieve outcomes for Australian businesses.