Roundtable with Rob Gordon
The Perth USAsia Centre hosted Sunrice Chief Executive Officer, Rob Gordon, and members of the WA business community for a private roundtable on 8 August.
The event was held in conjunction with the Australia Vietnam Policy Institute at RMIT University as part of a 12-month program supporting the Australian Business Champions to Vietnam initiative.
This initiative aims to contribute to goals including a doubling of trade and investment between Australia and Vietnam and the two countries entering each other’s top 10 economic partners.
Western Australian business leaders with exposure or interests in Vietnam discussed challenges and opportunities in accessing the fast-growing market.
The dialogue sought perspectives on current engagements, barriers to growth, and potential support mechanisms which the Australian government could extend.
Participants also discussed the merits of future trade delegations to Vietnam and how Vietnamese interests could support Western Australian businesses.
Some of the key sectors represented at the roundtable included the digital economy, agriculture and food manufacturing, professional services, and mining.
Participants stressed that Vietnam-Australia relations were the strongest they had been since the normalisation of diplomatic relations nearly 50 years ago.
Despite this, there were numerous roadblocks to future progress. These included ongoing disruptions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, challenges around visas and other forms of red tape, as well as a lack of meaningful engagement by Australian business and government with Vietnam at the grassroots level.
Participants discussed means of breaking down these barriers and creating more effective channels of engagement, including through greater promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake led the discussion alongside Mr Gordon, who has more than 30 years’ senior business experience. Prior to joining SunRice, he held positions at Viterra, Dairy Farmers, Unilever, and several other companies.
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