May 19, 2020

Free trade agreements are helping 93% of Australian businesses export – ECA report

Export Council of Australia
Australian Trade and Investment Commission
Addie Thomes
2 min
Free trade agreements are helping 93% of Australian businesses export – ECA report

The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has highlighted the positive impact of free trade agreements (FTA) on businesses in its Australia’s International Business Survey 2017.

Over 1,000 businesses were surveyed this year, 93% of which were exporting, 48% importing, 23% involved in other international activities (such as research and development), and 19% involved in two-way investment.

The report, commissioned by ECA with the support of Australian Trade and Investment Commission and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, also found that 35% of business earned international revenues from six or more countries, with three in four looking to export into new territories in the next two years.


Lisa McAuley, Strategic Advisor at the ECA, said: “It was pleasing to see that respondents reported several benefits to Australia’s FTA network beyond increased exports, including ‘making sales not previously permitted’ and ‘recognising Australian standards.

“What did not come as a surprise to the ECA is that most firms that reported they ‘do not gain export sales benefit’ from an FTA are not filling out the paperwork to claim a benefit. Respondents said that they either ‘don’t know’ whether they receive an export sales benefit from an FTA, or they are completely outsourcing their FTA documentation.”

The report also highlighted that nearly half of Australian businesses are investing in product and service innovation in order to boost export trade.  

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

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.


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