FTA With China: Two Mining Companies Ready For Non-Mining Business
After nine years of working towards the goal, today Australia will sign a free trade agreement with China. According to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Oz is the most China-dependent developed economy in the world, with exports to Australia counting for just over 5 percent of its GDP. With China’s desire for resources and energy, and Australia’s appetite for China’s manufactured products, the FTA should greatly benefit both parties.
“The free-trade agreement to be announced […] with China will be a game changer,” said Josh Frydenberg, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister. “Opening up the Chinese economy in various sectors, including services and agriculture, to Australian exports, is going to be really beneficial.”
The signing of the FTA this November means that Prime Minister Tony Abbott will accomplish his goal: when he was elected, Abbott committed to reaching this agreement by the end of 2013. Abbott has been busy with foreign policy this year, signing agreements with both Japan and South Korea as well.
China will lower the higher duties it recently assigned to Australian coal exports, and tariffs to beef, most grains and seafood will have their tariffs cut down to zero between this year and 2021. With this focus on agriculture, traditional mining companies are expanding into the industry.
Hancock Prospecting’s Hope Dairies Ltd. Gina Rinehart’s Hope Dairies is planning a half-billion dollar investment to supply infant formula to China. This includes acquiring over 12,000 acres of farmland in Queensland; production is expected to start in the second half of 2016 should everything go as planned.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. Andrew Forrest’s mining company is also looking to expand into food production, understanding the terms with the largest economy in the world have moved away from Fortescue’s traditional revenue maker. Not a lot of details are known about this move, but as Australia adapts to its new free trade agreement, expect more announcements on this front.
Information sourced from Bloomberg.
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.