19th & 20th February 2019 Report Highlights / Outcome of Australasian Forum Discussion Strategic Direction for HKBAs During the two-day forum, participants have been provided with the latest updates on the trade & economic development in Hong Kong and Mainland China. There was robust discussion on how to ride on the new initiatives. HKBAs can play a role in providing market intelligence and educating members / local business in tapping into the opportunities. Hong Kong-Australia Free Trade Development (HKAFTA) Negotiation of HKAFTA was concluded in November last year. It is suggested for HKABA to be prepared to start promoting the FTA once it is signed. It is agreed that HKABA should help disseminate the press release once ready. Australian SMEs may be confused with the mis-conception that Hong Kong has already been covered under the China Australia FTA. It is deemed necessary to highlight the difference or uniqueness of HKAFTA in that the focus is on promoting service trade and investment as well as removing non-tariff barriers. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) To build on previous years success, HKABA is planning a mission to the 4th Belt and Road Summit to be held on 11th & 12th September 2019. Once again a side program will be included to attract members to join. HKABA National has agreed to absorb the group participation fee without charging the first 20 members who register to attend. VIC is the first state to recognize the BnR Initiative while Australia nationally has not recognized it. NSW is keen to promote BRI but need more assistance and guidance. In South Australia, BRI is still not well understood among the business community. Over the last two years several delegates from Western Australia have joined the BnR Mission. WA Chapter will ensure the momentum can be continued. Greater Bay Area (GBA) HKABA & HKNZBA presidents have previously received a summary of the GBA Outline Development Plan from HKTDC. The initiative has been talked about for quite some time and has been highlighted by HKETO during previous Chinese New Year receptions. It is agreed that businesses are excited about the opportunities but need more specific details. The first GBA summit will be held in Auckland and other promotion events will take place in various cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Future Growth of HKABA HKABA National office has been approached to consider forming a chapter in ACT (Canberra). HKABA VIC Chapter is exploring to set up a presence in Tasmania due to the increased interest in trade and investment with Mainland China via HK. To ensure that a separate chapter is sustainable, it is agreed to first establish a branch under the respective chapter. The branch will need to recruit members, form a committee, secure sponsors and organise activities throughout the year. It will then be evaluated by the National office. Business Awards Events & Missions to HK While it has been challenging to organise the annual business awards, it is found to be worthwhile based on feedback from participants. It is becoming more and more difficult to secure sponsors due to economic condition and increased number of award events. Thus, there was discussion on whether to change the format. WA Chapter has decided to try out the cocktail concept instead of sit-down dinner. It will be evaluated and experience will be shared with other chapters. Young professionals are seen to be important and can be nurtured as future leaders of HKBAs. Discussions on how to engage them and recruit them to attend events such as HK Forum were conducted. One of the issues is the increase in flight prices around the 1st of December, which becomes too expensive, especially for a young person. In addition, HK Forum is leading up to the Christmas holiday period and companies become very busy, thus, young professionals find it difficult to take leave. Corporate Governance & Procedures As there are a few new presidents attending the Australasian Forum, it is found necessary to highlight the principles and provide guidance. Explanation was made on procedures such as procurement policy. Rules and regulations on appropriate logo use, expenditure requirements, financial accountability and transparency were provided. To ensure the continuous growth of the associations, succession planning is necessary to groom future chairperson and presidents. The chapters share their plan and experience. Website Development & Membership A new sub-committee across various states has been formed to look at revamping the current website of HKABA. Members have experienced difficulties in updating their personal details or renewing their membership (after membership has lapsed for over 3 months). To uphold the professional image of HKABA, it is important to have a good website where information and event details are provided. Membership drive has been a focus for the NSW state. They have successfully recruited new members by meeting them one-on-one and helping them with various business needs. Their success can be a showcase for other chapters. Networking Luncheon hosted by HKETO Sydney Delegates were invited to a luncheon hosted by the Director of HKETO Sydney. It was held at the newly named Harbour Room on G/F of Hong Kong House. Updates were provided, and information exchange was made. The discussion was found to be most useful to enable the delegates to understand the latest development and plan of HKSAR Government. Chinese New Year Reception Delegates also attended the CNY reception jointly hosted by HKETO, HKTDC & IHK held at the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Hotel Sydney. It was a very well attended event with over 350 guests. For the delegates, it presented a good networking opportunity to meet and mingle with government officials, industry representatives and business leaders. The reception was followed by a networking dinner with the committee members of NSW Chapter. Conclusion The annual get together at the Australasian Forum is very important and beneficial for the participants to gather latest updates, share their experience and discuss collaboration opportunities. Very often they face similar issues / challenges (e.g. how to secure sponsorship, increase membership) and can learn from one another. At the end of the two-day Forum, the delegates have agreed on the plan for the coming year and a few action items have been noted. The occasion of celebrating Chinese New Year as a group with other government and business contacts was most appreciated and seen as a bonus.