Relationships key to taking advantage of the Asian century

Ken Henry, the head of the Government’s Australia in the Asian Century Task Force, says the fostering of personal relationships will allow Australia to participate in the opportunities of Asia’s growth.

The former Federal Treasury secretary told a Global Foundation event, one of the most “striking” elements of his inquiry so far had been the emerging importance of relationships between individuals in driving opportunity and engagement, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Henry said it was not long ago that Asia was viewed as something that was “flown over” on the way to the world’s major commercial centres.

“It is amazing how quickly things have changed,” he said.

Henry said the Government and business needed to look at how to foster the ability to work in Asia at a personal level, according to the AFR.

“If Australian business people are going to be successful in Asia, that doesn’t mean necessarily sitting in Australia and exporting products into Asia.”

“That mindset is going to have to change. They are going to have to get out there. They are going to have to find opportunities… by having a presence on the ground in countries to our north and west, in India.”

The former Treasury secretary said once relationships were established the participants enjoyed them greatly.

Speaking afterwards, Chinese Ambassador Chen Yuming said the relationship between Australia and China was a “fast train” which “we have no reason to miss”.

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