Frosty Boy Australia breaks into China market on back of trade talks

FROSTY BOY chief executive Dirk Pretorius returned to Australia recently with a positive outlook for the country’s manufacturers and businesses looking to break into the Chinese market.

Mr Pretorius joined a recent trade mission to China with Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment, and is fully supportive of the recent Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which he urged to receive the full support of the Australian Government.   

“The FTA with China represents significant opportunities for many industries and businesses in Australia looking to expand into this massive market,” Mr Pretorius said. 

Frosty Boy has identified potential business growth and prospects in China that Mr Pretorius said will be realised or will be enhanced from the FTA, should it come to fruition.

With Frosty Boy currently servicing 48 countries, including China, 75 percent of Frosty Boy’s business is in export markets.

Felipe Demartini, Frosty Boy national sales and marketing manager, said through its research and development arm of the business and international experience, Frosty Boy is keen to work with local domestic businesses and franchisors to expand into new markets, including China.

“Working in partnership, we will be able to bring an exciting taste of Australia to China’s doorstep,” Mr Demartini said.  

Frosty Boy recently received world leading food safety certification, providing retailers and suppliers across the globe with assurance the manufacturer is delivering the highest possible production standards. The manufacturer’s new facility in Yatala has received an ‘Excellent’ rating in its Safe Quality Food (SQF) audit.

An independent assessment, SQF is an internationally recognised food safety and quality management system and provides certification the manufacturer complies with food safety regulations in both domestic and international markets.

“This certification provides our customers with added confidence that the Frosty Boy products are manufactured using best practice systems,” Mr Demartini said.

“An SQF rating is an internationally recognised program and helps us reach new markets both here in Australia and overseas.”




Minister Andrew Robb and the Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Frances Adamson. 

AACCI calls for Australia to fast-track trade with Saudi Arabia

THE Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) is urging the Australian Government to commence negotiations with Saudi Arabia on a Double Taxation Agreement.

Bilateral investment between Saudi Arabia and Australia, particularly infrastructure, real estate and agriculture, is encumbered because the effective corporate tax rate is up to 50 percent (20% in Saudi Arabia plus up to 30% in Australia)” the AACCI CEO, Suzannah Moss-Wright said.

As part of the Government’s on-going efforts to improve international competitiveness in Australian business, we encourage the Australian Government to commence negotiations on a double taxation agreement between the two countries.”

Ms Moss-Wright said Australian business would benefit from diversified funding sources. Saudi Arabia is abundant with private financial wealth in excess of US$1 trillion, and growing at a projected rate of 9.3 percent a year between 2014 and 2019, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

"Such monies remain distant whilst the Australian Government requires the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (comprising Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) to recommence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), before Australia engages in negotiations on double taxation agreements with the Gulf States," Ms Moss-Wright said.

Australia’s trade in agricultural products with Saudi Arabia, in spite of positive progress in recent years, is lagging far behind its potential, according to the AACCI.

Australian market share of chilled beef imports to Saudi Arabia has increased from 3 percent in 2010 to 7 percent in 2015. Saudi Arabia’s population is expected to grow at 1.5 percent annually over the next decade. It has an expanding middle class demanding higher quality proteins and grains. This presents opportunities for Australian companies involved in dairy, animal feed, beef and sheep farming, said AACCI. 

“Australia could become a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia in its search for investment opportunities to develop greater food security. We anticipate increased investment in Australia from Saudi Arabia if a double taxation agreement were enacted,” the AACCI CEO said. “The Australian Government has developed a compelling value proposition for investment in Northern Australia that could be of interest to Arab investors if an attractive tax regime could be established.”

During the first half of 2015, Australia exported more chilled and frozen meat to countries of the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) than to China, according to the Federal Department of Agriculture Comparison Table for Calendar YTD.

AACCI advocates broadening Australia’s trade focus, and intensifying attention on the Arab countries of the MENA region to safeguard long-term economic growth in Australia’s agriculture sector. Export market diversification is essential to buffer price variation and demand shocks in specific markets. China’s demand for Australian meat declined 11 percent in the past year.

FTA negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council commenced in 2007, and five rounds of discussions followed. No formal discussion has been had since 2009. Australia and the GCC are considering re-commencement of negotiations, however both parties are involved in discussions with other countries that could take precedence over a GCC-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

“It might be a number of years before negotiations on the GCC-Australia FTA formally recommence,” Ms Moss-Wright said.

"n the interim, AACCI urges the Australian Government to commence negotiations on a double taxation agreement with Saudi Arabia. Presently, Australia has 44 ratified double taxation agreements.

"To date, Australia has not commenced negotiations for a double taxation agreement with any Arab league states. Australia had a double taxation agreement with China for 26 years before concluding the FTA in 2014. Similarly a double taxation agreement preceded the FTA with Japan by 44 years and 31 years with Korea. This suggests that double taxation agreements pave the way for free trade agreements.

A tax treaty with Saudi Arabia would reduce the incidence of double taxation, provide greater tax certainty for business, and increase appeal of each to the other as an investment destination," she said.

"It would also improve access of Australian firms to Saudi Arabia’s $1.2 trillion worth of infrastructure developments currently planned or underway. Saudi Arabia is also mineral rich with significant deposits of bauxite, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, silver, tin as well as non-metallic minerals. With the decline in oil revenues, Saudi Arabia now has an increasing push into precious and base metal mining, presenting an opportunity for Australian contractors and engineering firms to capitalise on our advanced mining service expertise in a growing market.

AACCI has welcomed the Australian Government announcement on September 21 this year that it intended commencing negotiations on a double taxation agreement with Israel, to whom Australia exported $243 million of merchandise goods in 2014; and imported $710 million of goods.

“The Australian Government recognises that the absence of a double taxation agreement holds back closer bilateral economic and financial linkages, and we support initiatives to remedy this,” Ms Moss-Wright said.

AACCI is also encouraging the Australian Government to similarly commence negotiations on a double taxation agreement with Saudi Arabia, to whom Australia exported $2.26 billion of merchandise goods in 2014; and imported $426 million of mostly fertilisers and plastics.

AACCI also encourages the Australian Government to enter into negotiations for an investment protection agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Currently, Australia has 22 bilateral investment protection agreements. The only country with which both Saudi Arabia and Australia have investment protection agreements is China, the AACCI said.

"This means that to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s investment in Australia, the investor would incorporate a company in China, and use that Chinese company to invest in Australia," Ms Moss-Wright said. "This results in Australia losing the benefit of direct relationships with its investor, potentially limiting further investment in the future and impeding bilateral trade opportunities."

Saudi Arabia is the 19th largest economy in the world with a GDP of US$752 billion in 2014. It is the third-fastest growing economy in the world with an annual average growth rate of 5 percent over the past 10 years. This achievement is only preceded by China and India.

Fortunate to have 25 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves within its borders, and the fourth=largest natural gas reserve in the world, Saudi Arabia represents a compelling prospect for Australian business to develop a commercial relationship.

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a seminar at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, commencing at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 to discuss agribusiness opportunities for Australian companies in the Arab world, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia.

“We are honoured that the Ambassador of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Australia, His Excellency Nabil Al Saleh will be speaking at our seminar,” said Mohamed Hage, the AACCI (NSW) chairman.

“Following the Ambassador’s keynote address, international trade experts from Meat and Livestock Australia, Rabobank, Export Council of Australia and AACCI will discuss trends in trade of agricultural products between Australia and the Arab world.”



China FTA signing brings expanded agricultural trade a step closer

THE opportunities created by the historic China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) took another step towards reality on June 17 with the official signing of the agreement by trade ministers from both countries. 

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said the agreement would deliver significant benefits to Australian farmers upon entry into force later this year. 

“The China-Australia FTA eliminates tariffs on a wide range of key agricultural and fisheries products in Australia's largest agricultural export market,” Mr Joyce said. 

“We exported around $9 billion of agricultural products to China in 2014 at tariffs up to 30 percent — which makes Australian farmers less competitive and less profitable. 

“The tariff cuts under ChAFTA over the first year are estimated to provide tariff savings of up to $188 million across key growth commodities like beef, sheep meat, hides and skins, livestock, dairy, horticulture, wine and seafood. 

“Tariffs on barley, sorghum, oats, some animal feeds and frozen prawns, will be eliminated, that is to zero percent, upon entry into force and Australia has received a duty free Country-Specific Quota for wool,” Mr Joyce said.

“A number of tariffs will be eliminated over four years, including most seafood, fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well as wine and a number of processed foods including canned tomatoes, pasta, chocolate and biscuits to name a few. 

“Tariffs of 12 to 25 percent on some of Australia’s biggest exports to China — chilled or frozen beef and sheep meat — will be eliminated in stages over eight to nine years. There are also a number of tariff phase-outs for key dairy exports over four to 11 years. 

“These cuts will directly benefit our producers, and underline the commitment of this government to boosting returns at the farm gate.” 

Mr Joyce said the agreement closed the gap between Australia and international competitors that already have FTAs with China, such as New Zealand and Chile, and would provide a significant advantage over major competitors such as the United States and European Union, which do not have FTAs with China. 

“The Australian Government has a strong commitment to agriculture as a pillar of the national economy and we are consistently working towards the development of new markets for Australian produce,” Mr Joyce said.  

“To take full advantage of the outcomes of ChAFTA, the government is actively working to improve and expand technical market access to China for Australian agricultural products. 

“This agreement markets the beginning of a new relationship with China and one which we will use to continue to press for improved market access for our producers and exporters.” 

The China–Australia Free Trade Agreement was formally signed in Canberra by Australias Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, and China’s Commerce Minister, Dr Gao Hucheng. 

The next step is ratification of the agreement by both countries, with a goal of entry into force before the end of 2015. 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia’s agriculture sector would be able to capitalise on its well-deserved reputation as a clean, green producer of premium food and beverage products.

“Tariffs will be progressively abolished for Australia’s $13 billion dairy industry,” Mr Abbott said. “Australia’s beef and sheep farmers will also gain from the phased abolition of tariffs ranging from 12-25 percent and all tariffs on Australian horticulture will be eliminated.”



Tritium wins major US electric vehicle ‘fast charge’ deal

AUSTRALIAN electric vehicle fast-charge technology developer Tritium has won a major deal with ChargePoint to provide its Veefil system across the US.

ChargePoint is the world’s largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network. ChargePoint will install Tritium’s award-winning Veefil DC fast charging stations, the Veefil across the country. 

Veefil stations have a power output of 50kW and can deliver up to 128km of driving range in just 20 minutes.  The Tritium stations are able to charge all cars equipped for DC fast charging, using the included SAE-Combo connector or a CHAdeMO connector. Tesla drivers will be able to use the CHAdeMO connector with an adapter slated to go on sale shortly. 

“ChargePoint approached us because it was attracted by both the design and unique technology of the Veefil, plus the fact that it is extremely simple for the EV owner to use,” Tritium CEO, David Finn said. 

“We were looking for a strong partner in the US which had excellent distribution and an established network throughout the country.  I’m excited by the rate and high volume at which ChargePoint will be able to deploy our product into this market and its commitment to establishing a major network of DC fast chargers.”

The stations will be installed on major routes across the country and will be part of the ChargePoint network of more than 21,000 EV charging stations. ChargePoint recently partnered with Volkswagen and BMW to build express charging corridors on both the east and west coasts of the US.

Mr Finn said the stations will be ChargePoint branded, clearly marked as DC Fast stations and the connectors will be labelled so drivers know which is compatible with their car.

“These stations can be used by any EV equipped with fast charging and will be installed in convenient locations where drivers need them most,” ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano said.

“With access to fast charging stations along major routes, drivers can depend on an EV as their only vehicle.”

The Veefil stations, developed by the Queensland-founded company, have the smallest footprint and lowest weight of all 50kW DC EV fast chargers, increasing location options and reducing shipping and installation costs. Veefil fits neatly at the end of a standard parking bay within existing infrastructure.

The units weigh only 165 kg and the polycarbonate and aluminium construction ensures long-term stability of the entire enclosure, leading to lower maintenance costs.



Australia-EU free trade raised by Merkel

A WORKING group has been established by German and Australian Government representatives to move towards a free trade agreement.

The move came after the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane in November, in discussions between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then was furthered at a business reception for Dr Merkel organised by the German-Australian Chamber of Commerce in Sydney. 

The reception, part of the first visit of a German Chancellor to Australia in more than 15 years, gave Dr Merkel a platform to raise the issue of a future EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). She said in her speech at the event of “the importance to expand the already strong commercial ties”.

The FTA was also  one of the key topics of the bilateral working group announced by Dr Merkel and Mr Abbott the previous day

German-Australian Chamber president, Lucy Hughes Turnbull, welcomed the Chancellor and mentioned how important the influence of German companies in Australia is. There is $11 billion in annual trade between Germany and Australia and Dr Merkel said she would support a future FTA between the European Union and Australia that could further deepen the business relationship. The Chancellor also invited Australian businesses to invest more in Germany.

After the reception, Airbus, Froebel, SAP and Siemens briefed Dr Merkel on their bilateral highlight projects as examples of world-leading German-Australian collaboration.

Also at the event staged at Sergeants Mess in Mosman were the Prime Minister’s representative Josh Frydenberg, Australian Ambassador to Germany David Ritchie, German Ambassador to Australia Christoph Mueller, Austrian Ambassador to Australia Helmut Boeck and Australian B20 Sherpa Robert Milliner, along with 300 members of the German-Australian Chamber.


Bulla Dairy Foods welcomes the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

BULLA Dairy Foods (Bulla) has welcomed the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) with a visit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to its Colac plant.

Exports are currently a small part of the Bulla business but this new trade agreement should see Bulla’s chilled and frozen dairy exports expand significantly. 

Allan Hood, Bulla Dairy Foods CEO, said of the agreement, “Australia is seeing strong demand from China for dairy. With the quality, taste and reputation of our products we expect this to continue to grow and now via the ChAFTA the progressive elimination of significant dairy tariffs will mean we are finally able to compete on an equal footing with New Zealand and the EU.

“It has been a privilege to have Prime Minister Tony Abbott visit our site in Colac today and showcase the impact the FTA will have on local businesses.” 

While Mr Hood felt the full potential of the ChAFTA would not be realised for several years Bulla has already recruited a team to engage potential partners in China and develop their export portfolio.

Bulla’s significant investment over the last few years in facilities at Colac including a state-of-the art Innovation Centre and Milk Separation Plant will support this growth trajectory via innovative new products and expanding current lines, Mr Hood said.

An iconic Australian brand, the Bulla family has been manufacturing quality dairy products for over 105 years.

Mr Hood said the ChAFTA would play an exciting part in Bulla's next chapter, “creating new jobs in the community, supporting local farmers and bringing premium dairy products to families across Australia and in new overseas markets”



ICC’s new ‘expert rules’ for international disputes showcased in Dubai

THE International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched its program of ‘expert rules’ to help resolve international cross-border commercial disputes.

Known as the ICC Expert Rules, the first of three showcase events to demonstrate the system took place in Dubai on January 14. Dubai was selected for the launch as it is one of the world’s major business dispute resolution hubs. 

Entering into force on February 1, the 2015 ICC Rules set out new parameters for ICC expert services, clarifying how parties can use experts and neutrals to help resolve their cross-border disputes at each step of the way. They will be administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR and will be made available in English, Spanish and French.

The panel of international speakers taking part in the launch event included Ali Al Aidarous International Legal Practice (UAE), managing attorney Ali Aidarous; KPMG Risk Consulting in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia (EMA) head and partner Pablo Bernad, who is also a member of the Standing Committee for Expertise of the ICC International Centre for ADR; Fenwick Elliott (UK) partner Nicholas Gould; and Advokatfirman Runeland AB’s Aisha Nadar.

“Being a litigator and an international arbitrator, I may safely state that services related to ICC expertise are extremely useful tools for arbitration in the MENA region where there are no, or little, regulations in this regard,” Mr Aidarous said.

“ICC can definitely fill this gap by proposing and appointing an expert, as well as administering the expert proceedings at an international standard.”

Mr Aidarous said launching this new set of rules in the MENA region underlined ICC’s commitment to its international work. Over the last decade, ICC saw the number of cases involving parties from the MENA region increase.

Drawing on ICC’s 40-year experience in cross-border dispute resolution, and with specialist input from its membership in over 90 countries, the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR will replace the current ICC Rules for Expertise with three new sets of rules.

Each covers a distinct area of ICC’s dispute resolution services: the Proposal of Experts and Neutrals, the Appointment of Experts and Neutrals, and the Administration of Expertise Proceedings.

Hannah Tumpel, senior counsel and manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR said, “As all other sets of dispute resolution rules, the Expert Rules are specifically tailored to the needs and interest of international disputes.”

Ms Tumpel said the launch event program underscored how the new rules could leverage ICC’s unique international network when parties need support in identifying leading experts for arbitration and court proceedings. The event examined when and how to involve experts in international arbitration proceedings and provided examples of expert proceedings administered by ICC.

The rules also explicitly mention suitable neutrals such as mediators, conciliators or dispute board members.

The services provided by the ICC International Centre for ADR under these three revised sets of rules form an integral part of ICC’s suite of dispute resolution services, supporting businesses in sectors as varied as finance, construction, energy, telecommunication and transport among others. The new rules provide different ways to access the services of the right expert or neutral and can be used independently or in conjunction with other procedures such as ICC Arbitration.

Further launch events take place in London on January 21 and in New York on January 27.

Mr Aidarous said gathering some of the world's most renowned dispute resolution professionals, the events benefit anyone wanting to learn about ICC expert services, from corporate counsel and company managers, to arbitrators, mediators, dispute resolution specialists, lawyers and judges.

The January 14 launch in Dubai was supported by Baker and MacKenzie, Habib Al Mulla, Al Tamimi & Co in Dubai, Al Al Aidarous and KPMG.



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