Mixed business reaction to Asian Century white paper

The federal government’s Australia in the Asian Century white paper has been criticised as lacking in detail and doing little to address the uneven playing field faced by businesses looking to trade there.

The federal government’s Australia in the Asian Century white paper has been criticised as lacking in detail and doing little to address the uneven playing field faced by businesses looking to trade there.

The white paper, released on Sunday, looks at harnessing the increased opportunities offered by a growing Asian middle class.
 

Alan Oxley, managing director at ITS Global, has criticised recommendations involving quotas on board members with Asian experience, and said doing business in the region was made difficult by a lack of openness in trade some markets.

“So I think the expectation that there's an easy spot for our industries to move into those areas is probably wrong,” Oxley told ABC’s The Business.

“I mean, they're good, they're competitive, but they'll go where they can do business. And in the short to medium term, it's going to remain the United States and Europe.”

One manufacturing business that has managed to take advantage of Asian markets is Treasury Wine Estates, formerly part of Foster's Group, which moved 1.2 million cases of wine to China last financial year to China and has a has a 30-strong workforce there.

“Getting there in the right place, at the right price at the right time to target the Chinese consumer who's looking for these new sort foreign, Western brands is critical and we wouldn't have been able to do it our own,” Simon Marton, Wolf Blass’s MD told The Business.

“The per capita consumption's only about one litre per head at the moment versus, say, 22 to 24 in Australia and they're loving imported wine as well.”

Yesterday the Australian Industry Group and others were critical of the paper’s lack of attention to boosting productivity through workplace changes.

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