As we head into the summer break, I’m sure many of our Members and supporters are looking forward to a quiet couple of weeks after a very busy start to 2018. Here at the Chamber we have already held 21 events this year on subjects ranging from free trade to making connections between the world class tech scenes in Australia and the United Kingdom, as well as our ever-popular social events including the recent Summer Party (check out the gallery here).
We won’t be taking much of a break at the Chamber though, with a full program of events stretching through the Autumn, including the launch of our Innovation Talks series for 2018 with a breakfast briefing focusing on AI in Financial Markets on the morning of 6 September and part two of the Going Home series which will take place on the evening of 17 October.
As well as our recent events, I was delighted to represent the Chamber and our Members at the Australia United Kingdom Leadership Forum held over two days at Lancaster House. First held in 2002, the Forum was revived this year with the support of the Pratt Foundation and Kings College London and featured discussions focusing on the broad range of the bilateral relationship including, trade, investment, economic cooperation, strategic and security cooperation, social policy and cultural cooperation.
Ministers from both Australia and the UK participated including the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo and Alan Tudge, the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. On the UK side, the Trade Minister Liam Fox and the Investment Minister Graham Stuart both participated, along with senior civil servants from both governments.
There was significant support for the proposed post-Brexit FTA between Australia and the UK, with Liam Fox launching the public consultation on the morning of the Forum and speeding across London to come and talk to participants about his vision for a free-trading future for the UK, which will strengthen the existing bilateral links between our two countries. Both Australian and UK Ministers are very keen to hear the views of business, and over the coming months I will be reaching out to you to discuss your priorities and the key issues for your businesses and sectors in these critical negotiations.
Whether you are sweltering through the summer here in the UK or making it back to Australia for some winter rain, the team and I hope that you all have a wonderful August and look forward to seeing you in September.
Executive Director, Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce