Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D16 - 18 November 2004 

Australian Business Leaders to Attend APEC CEO Summit

 Business leaders from some of Australia’s leading companies will attend the 21 nation Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit from 19-21 November in Santiago, Chile.  The Summit represents an important opportunity to discuss the global trading environment and commercial opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

Australian business leaders including Chip Goodyear, CEO, BHP Billiton; Bernard Wheelahan, Chairman, Pacific Hydro; Myles Curtis, Managing Director, Securency; Michael Crouch, Executive Chairman, Zip Industries; Michael Johnson, Deputy Chairman, Macquarie Bank; and Jose Blanco, Chairman, Australia-Latin America Business Council will attend the gathering. 

The CEO Summit will also focus on opportunities in Latin America, an increasingly attractive market for Australian exporters. Australia’s Trade Minister Mark Vaile will address the CEO Summit on Friday.

In Chile and Brazil alone, Australian mining investment accounts for approximately $4.2 billion.  BHP Billiton operates the largest copper mine in the world, Minera Escondida, in northern Chile.  Enrolments in Australian education institutions by students from Chile and Mexico increased by 37 and 51 per cent respectively in 2002-03; Australian wine is more sought after by Mexicans than ever before; and thousands of Chileans are receiving gas distributed by an Australian company.

The Government is strengthening Australia-Latin America relations through the negotiation of investment promotion and protection agreements and double taxation agreements with several Latin American partners, and through the establishment of bilateral trade and investment commissions with Chile and Mexico.

Chairman of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR), Bernard Wheelahan, said Latin America presents diverse investment opportunities, and the Australian business community, with the support of the Australian Government, is chalking up significant achievements.  There is growing Australian interest in a range of areas including agribusiness, gas, coal and cosmetics.

“The attendance of such high profile Australian business leaders at the APEC CEO conference demonstrates Australia’s commitment to exploring trade and investment opportunities in Latin America”, Mr Wheelahan said.

COALAR was established in 2001 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade to advance Australia’s relationship with Latin America.

Media enquiries: DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555