ABIE FRANCE DINNER TO LAUNCH AFBA – 6 DECEMBER 2021
It was a full house at the Aéro-Club de France on the 6th December for the launch of the Australia France Business Association, in the presence of H.E. Gillian Bird PSM, Australian Ambassador to France and Honorary President of AFBA.
The event brought together 50 members and guests, including representatives from the National Australia Bank (NAB) who had travelled over from London. The NAB will be opening up a new office in Paris in the new year.
Colleagues from other ABIE organisations in Europe also attended, including Dr Robert Sonnenberg of the German Australian Business Council.
In his opening remarks, AFBA President Bernard Tabary warmly thanked Calinaud David Avocats for kindly sponsoring the event and for making the wonderful evening possible.
He explained that the Australian Business in Europe (ABIE) Network was founded in London in 1975 and has since grown into a vibrant organisation with a large international membership spanning across Europe. ABIE was set up in France in 1988.
In her subsequent speech, Ambassador Bird congratulated AFBA on its new name and logo, which she said will “mark a new and even more successful chapter of this organisation”.
She commented that Franco-Australian relations have come a long way since the early voyages of French explorers to Australia. France is today Australia’s second largest two-way trading partner within the EU and fifth largest source of foreign investment.
“In the last three years, overall French investment in Australia nearly doubled, growing from A$24.6 billion in 2017 to A$42.7 billion in 2020, and the stock of Foreign Direct investment is valued at over A$12 billion. Over 600 French companies have a presence in Australia today employing more than 70,000 Australians”, remarked the Ambassador.
Australian investors also have an important presence in France with several companies such as ANZ and Macquarie Capital having established offices in Paris.
A sector of particular interest at the moment is energy which has a key role in the Australian Government’s long term action plan, with Australia hoping to become leading producer and exporter of clean hydrogen by 2030. This strategy is supported by more than A$20 billion of government investment to 2030 and expected to leverage over A$80 billion from the private sector.
In regards to the Australia-EU FTA, Ambassador Bird emphasised that “Australia remains committed to negotiating a comprehensive and ambitious agreement, which will provide mutual economic benefits in support of our post-COVID-19 recovery and diversifying supply chains”.
In her closing remarks, the Ambassador encouraged guests to take part in the Australia now public diplomacy program which will be running until June 2022.