Australia looks to build alliance with Germany
Although Australia exports $3 billion worth of goods every year to Germany, which is the fourth-largest economy in the world, Aussies still export more than that to 16 other countries internationally.
With so much focus on trade with China and other Asian-Pacific countries—and with good reason—Aussies are attempting to strengthen its alliance with Germany as Australia begins to reassess its future during the fall of its mining surge.
Finance Minister Mathias Corman, who is also the chair of the new Australian-Germany Advisory Group, is set to travel to Berlin next month in an effort to improve trade between the two countries. There is a sentiment that Germany can give Australia advice on better ways to do business.
Economic ties with Germany have been limited in recent years, as Australia imports about $12 billion of goods from the Germans each year, which consists mainly of cars, equipment and medical products.
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Only a few years ago, Germany was Australia’s 10th-largest merchandise trading partner, as it brought in over $13 billion. However, only about $2 billion of that came from exports, as gold coins made up the majority of the revenue, while other precious metals were valued at $306 million.
Opportunities for Australia-German business will possibly include an increase of educational exchanges, partnerships between Aussie and German companies, along with assisting Australian start-up companies in the scientific and clean-energy industries.
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With both Australia and Germany being among the world leaders in scientific research, many are excited about what could come from next month’s meeting. What develops there is certainly something worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.
This also coincides with Australia Germany Business Conference, which as was written by Business Review Australia, will be hosted by the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce on 10 September 2015 at the International Chamber House in Melbourne. The events will examine and discuss ways to improve entrepreneurship and innovation in the current challenging Australian business landscape, while also highlighting new ideas and business models.
The program will feature several high-level guest speakers such as ANCA CEO Grant Anderson, Siemans chairman and CEO Jeff Connolly, in addition to BMWi Germany director of external economic policy Dr. Eckhard Franz, among others. The panel will examine opportunities within the Industry 4.0 framework as well as the advanced manufacturing sector.
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.