Finance Minister and co-chairman of the Australian Germany Advisory Group Mathias Cormann says doing business with Germany is now easier than ever.
As part of the Federal Government’s commitment to strengthening ties between the two regions, Cormann has been a lead player in ensuring the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference was held in Perth.
To be held at the Crown Convention Centre from November 3 to 5, it will be the most significant bilateral conference between Germany and Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region with more than 1000 international delegates set to attend.
Historically the perception in Germany was that Australia was an exciting holiday destination but simply too far away to do more business with, but this is no longer the case says Cormann.
“In 2017 the world has grown much closer and better connected and there are now many more opportunities for us to do more business with each other,” Cormann says.
“That is why we are pursuing initiatives to create greater awareness of Australia and Australian businesses in Germany.
“This year, Germany is the focus of the ‘Australia Now’ program out of our Department of Foreign Affairs, which is promoting Australia and all that we have to offer throughout Germany.”
Cormann says the Government has also established a ‘Landing Pad’ in Berlin to enable Australian start-ups and entrepreneurs to access networks and develop business opportunities from Germany.
“The renegotiation of a new double taxation agreement in record time, has also made it easier to do business out of Australia in Germany,” he says.
“Certainty around tax consequences of doing business with each other is an important part of actually being able to do business with each other and is opening up new opportunities for Australian businesses.”
While Australia featured at 44 on Germany’s principal import sources last year at only 0.2 per cent, compared with China at number one on 9.9 per cent, Cormann says trade with Germany has been growing.
“But there is definitely an opportunity and a need to do more. For a long time our biggest single export to Germany was gold coins,” he says.
“Last year, Australian year-on-year merchandise exports to Germany grew by almost 30 per cent, while merchandise imports from Germany grew by about 11 per cent. Our service exports to Germany also grew by almost 15 per cent over that same period.
“FMG recently exported a shipment of iron ore to Germany - so who knows we may even be able to expand our markets for some of our key resource commodity exports.”
Cormann says he’d like to see Australia and Germany get involved in advanced manufacturing with each other.
“I think there are also a lot of opportunities in the services space and we can also do a lot more with each other in relation to infrastructure financing,” he says.
“We can learn a lot from Germany when it comes to commercialisation of high quality research and innovation. The Germans are among the world leaders when it comes to making commercial successes out of quality research.”
►Find out more about the conference and book your tickets here.