Free-trade agreements linking Australia to south-east Asia, Latin America and the European Union will help break our reliance on international students from China, but they could also pave the way for increased competition from foreign universities on local soil.
The new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP-11, signed in March will boost trade between Australia and 10 other signatories – Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
It is seen as the new gold standard of free-trade deals, which no longer focus primarily on goods but increasingly on services as well.
Negotiations are now under way for a similar agreement with the European Union, which EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says would open up significant opportunities in public procurement and the service sector in particular.
As one of the country's biggest sources of export income, these agreements have enormous implications for the tertiary sector.
Some of the benefits are easy to see – two in particular are greater access to overseas students and smoother facilitation of international research projects.
On their own, the agreements won't necessarily lead to a shift in the number of international students studying in Australia, but they could dramatically change where they come from – alleviating concerns about over-representation of Chinese students in local classrooms.
Simplified visa requirements, government promotions of education in Australia and mutual recognition of qualifications in professions like law, accounting and engineering could see an influx of new students from areas like Latin America or parts of Asia that have traditionally been considered out of reach.
Similarly, a shared understanding on issues like salary provisions and working conditions, joint protection of intellectual property and investment rules would make it much easier than it currently is for researchers and university staff to collaborate across borders, and for universities to invest strategically abroad.
However, Australian universities will need to be proactive to actually take advantage of what these agreements offer – and if they don't, risk losing out to their overseas counterparts.
Just because FTAs exist doesn't mean businesses automatically reap their benefits.
Higher-education providers will need strategic managerial and organisational knowledge to know how to navigate their complex rules effectively.
A report on how Australian businesses have used existing FTAs to date, published by PwC in February, found that their impact was particularly high in merchandise trade, but only 35 per cent of services firms considered them as part of their export strategy. This compares to 90 per cent of EU organisations.
This would indicate that the services sector in Australia is significantly less developed in its approach to using FTAs effectively than it is in the EU, which would possibly put our sector on an uneven playing field if – or more likely, when – it becomes Australia's next FTA partner, depending on the success of governmental negotiations.
Thankfully, the attitude of Australian universities to FTAs has started to shift over the past few years.
When talk of a possible agreement with the EU first arrived, it seemed as if the higher education sector wasn't sufficiently concerned because it didn't see how such a deal could be relevant.
Since then, there has been a noticeable increase in awareness among vice-chancellors and in lobbying for the higher education sector to be represented in negotiations – though it is still far from comprehensive.
Just as Australian businesses will be looking to see how a potential FTA with the EU could benefit them, so will their European counterparts be on the hunt to make the most of new opportunities in Australia. This will include education providers already keen to launch new campuses on Australian soil.
The danger for Australia's higher education industry lies in underestimating just how much change could be around the corner, brought on both by Australia's existing FTAs as well as the plurilateral TPP-11 deal and future FTA deals such as that with the EU. If Australian universities don't tap into the opportunities effectively, they run a serious risk of losing their position and watching as international providers step in to fill the gap.
Source: Financial Review
The Australian Government has awarded the University of Newcastle $1,267,750 million in funding under the 2019 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.
Funding will support 334 University of Newcastle students to undertake 23 mobility projects in 15 countries across the Indo-Pacific region, with the University leading five cross-institutional projects addressing global environment, health and business topics.
Established in 2014, the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program aims to deepen two-way engagement between Australia and the Indo-Pacific by providing undergraduate students with a variety of exchange opportunities in 40 host locations.
Successful students from the University of Newcastle will study and undertake internships in Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vietnam.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Advancement, Winnie Eley, said she was delighted to see so many exceptional students take up the opportunity to advance their knowledge in fields of global relevance.
“Through international mobility, this program enables our students to enter the work force with greater cultural awareness and a deep understanding of our neighbouring regions and beyond.
“This experience not only fosters the next generation of global citizens, but also provides students with professional and personal connections that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” Mrs Eley said.
New Colombo Plan 2019 Student Mobility Grant Projects led by:
Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment – Understanding sustainable development and resilience in South Korea
Professor Sally Chan, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Promoting cultural competency – East meets West in community care in China
Dr Sara Geale, Faculty of Health and Medicine – A team approach to improving the health of children and young people who are in need in Cambodia
The Wollotuka Institute, Aboriginal professional practice and Indigenous culture in the Solomon Islands
Dr Sally Hewat, Faculty of Education and Arts – Speech pathology in Mainland China
Dr Daphne James, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Medical radiation science multi-professional student placement in Vietnam
Dr Philip Matthias, Faculty of Education and Arts – Indigenous Tongan oral tradition
Mr Shaun McCarthy and Dr Bin Li, Faculty of Business and Law - Clinical legal education in China
iLead+, UON Global, iLEAD Plus global leadership experience in India
Ms Jacqueline Svenson, Dr Liam Phelan and Mr Daniel Matas, Faculty of Business and Law – Climate connections across the Pacific in Tuvalu and Fiji
Associate Professor Pamela van der Riet, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Thai cultural study healthcare program in Thailand
Professor SueAnne Ware, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment - Tactical urbanism GZ in China
Dr Deborah Wise, Faculty of Education and Arts – Advancing Australian public relations student’s understanding of professional practice in Indonesia
UON Global – Semester exchange in Singapore
UON Global – Semester exchange, internship and language training in China
UON Global – Semester exchange and language training in Japan
UON Global – Semester exchange in Republic of Korea
UON Global – Semester exchange in Malaysia
UON-led cross-institutional projects:
Dr Elena Aydos, Faculty of Business and Law – Environmental regulation in Australia and Japan
Dr Lyn Ebert, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Growing health partnerships globally in China
Dr Silvia Frisia, Faculty of Science – Global changes impacts in the South Pacific: Field study in the Cook Islands
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts, Faculty of Science – Cultural awareness through tropical ecology and forest rehabilitation in Indonesia
Dr Marcus Rodrigs, Faculty of Business and Law – Intensive business and finance project in Malaysia
In 2019, the New Colombo Plan will support 11,817 students from 40 Australian universities to take part in 792 mobility projects across 36 host locations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The awarded funding to the University of Newcastle for 2019 represents 4.42 per cent of the $28.7 million offered overall, which is an increase from 4.36 per cent awarded in 2018.
The Malaysian government’s stand on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be finalised by the Cabinet soon.
Minister of International Trade and Industry ( MITI) Ignatius Darell Leiking said Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad had been looking into the matter.
“He has given his thoughts when he was in Japan. Give us some time to grasp the agreement, the Prime Minister would certainly make a decision on the matter soon,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir’s call for a review of the CPTPP as the current agreement could prove to be a disadvantage for smaller economies.
Darell told reporters this after receiving courtesy calls by delegates from Singapore, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom here today.
Darrel said Malaysia has not opted out from the pact but the new government would need some time to ensure that it would benefit the nation.
MITI Secretary-General, Datuk Isham Ishak said after signing the pact in March this year, there would be a ratification process which required Malaysia to undertake some changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the enforcement of the agreement in February next year.
“Malaysia might miss the enforcement date, as we still have to make some amendments on laws and regulations during the upcoming parliamentary session, but we can still join the pact once the ratification is done,” he said.
He added countries which opted out of the pact after signing the agreement would not be slapped with any penalty under its exit clause but need to give proper notification.
Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski, said Malaysia and Australia were looking forward to strengthening cooperation between the two countries within the established bilateral framework.
Both countries also discussed regional relationships, including the CPTPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
“We are optimistic of a positive outcome on the ratification,” he said.
Goledzinowski said Australia was confident of the new government and was optimistic on the Malaysian government’s move to review mega projects.
Citing the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) – which has a high rate of involvement by Australian companies – as an example, he believed that there was no fear of government scrutiny despite having to go through an audit.
On investments, he said Malaysia had a lot to offer, including ease of doing business, a highly skilled workforce and low cost base.
Apart from the financial sector, Goledzinowski said Australia also saw opportunities to strengthen its trade and investment relations with Malaysia in the tourism, hospitality, construction, energy and education sectors.
Source: New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: Australian-listed AI Group Ltd has identified a few target companies with high growth potential to invest in Asia Pacific including Malaysia.
Chairman James Huey said the board will be reviewing the companies in the next four to six weeks before making a firm deal.
"We will be looking at making an investment in one of more target companies this year. The sectors we are focusing on is new age business. Malaysia is one of our dominant targets because of our familiarity with the market.
"We will also be active in the Australian market. We will be over time, identifying prospects in our regional economics that are of interest where the countries are stable or in growing situation and that will include China and Vietnam," Huey told NST Business here recently.
AI Group, an investment holding company was listed on the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSX) recently and it raised about A$1.8 million.
Huey said it will use the fund for its daily operation and for investment in the targeted companies.
"We want to buy good quality business and increase the valuation. The target will be companies that have a bright future and delivering sustainable business with a lot of upside.
"The objective is to increase their valuation. We will not just be a passive investor like sitting back and waiting for that company to deliver good results. We will be actively helping them to grow their business and build their profits, and underneath all that increase the value of the company, which means the value of our investment," he said.
AI Group's biggest shareholder Datuk Dr. Sherwin Chew said the group will grow the investee companies and seek for additional fund in the near future.
"We plan to raise more capital after making a few successful investments in the next one to two years. If we can show our shareholders and the rest of the market that we can add value to companies, then we have a track record and that will make it much easier for us to raise more funds," Chew said.
AI Group is aiming to move to the main board of the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) in no less than two years.
"It depends on whether we can achieve significant size. Going on to the main board of ASX requires AI Group to be larger and again have a good track record to sustain market interest in it," he said.
Chew is also not ruling out a dual listing in another country to raise more funds, as well as to build the company's profile and market confidence.
Source: News Straits Times
THE depth of the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Australia was among the topics discussed during a meeting between Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Australian Ambassador to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski here today.
Both officials also identified areas of potential collaboration between the Finance Ministry (MoF) and the Australian government in areas of mutual interest including structural reform and fiscal management.
“We look forward to continuing our close and productive relationship with the MoF as it implements its important priorities, including through a potential senior officials’ policy dialogue,” Goledzinowski said in a statement today.
Goledzinowski today met with Lim and alumni of Monash University in Melbourne.
Australia first established a diplomatic presence in Kuala Lumpur in 1955.
Both countries shared a longstanding partnership economic policy, reform and trade, including regular secondments and exchanges between agencies with responsibility for financial sector regulation, taxation, competition and anti-corruption.
The relationship is anchored by close defence and security cooperation, as well as strong people-to-people links through education, business, migration and tourism.
In 2015, the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership, reflecting the enduring nature of Australia-Malaysia bilateral ties.
Source: The Malaysian Insight
MALAYSIA Airlines will tonight return to Brisbane for the first time in three years in a $100 million boost to the Queensland economy.
After the tragedies of MH17 and MH370, Malaysia Airlines suspended Brisbane services in 2015, but the carrier is back with flights to the Queensland capital four times a week in a move which could deliver an extra 60,000 visitors a year to the Sunshine State.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new flights would be a big boost to the state’s economy.
“Welcoming this international airline back to Queensland is a major coup for our state’s tourism industry, injecting millions into the economy and supporting up to 240 jobs annually,” she said.
“This route gives travellers the opportunity to pick Queensland as their gateway to Australia.
“These flights will help us grow our share of key Asian and European markets by tapping into Malaysia Airlines’ extensive network.”
Malaysia Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Arved von zur Muehlen said Australia was one of the airline’s biggest markets and Brisbane was an important destination.
“We are excited to be returning to Brisbane to offer passengers better connectivity with our four times weekly direct flights into the city. At the same time, this is to also encourage passengers to explore Malaysia, which is famous for its rich attractions,” he said.
Source: The Courier Mail
Malaysia has improved in terms of competitiveness, moving up two spots in IMD’s 2018 World Competitiveness Rankings to take 22nd place globally.
In Asia Pacific, Hong Kong (2nd globally) and Singapore (3rd globally) took the top spots, followed by Mainland China (13th globally) and Taiwan (17th globally), while Australia (19th globally) rounded up the top five.
#1 Hong Kong
Global rank: 2nd
Global rank: 3rd
#3 China Mainland
Global rank: 13th
Global rank: 17th
Global rank: 19th
Global rank: 22nd
#7 New Zealand
Global rank: 23rd
Global rank: 25th
#9 Republic of Korea
Global rank: 27th
Global rank: 30th
The report noted the region saw mixed results. While Malaysia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and India (44th globally) all saw slight improvements, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia (43rd globally) dropped a few places. It observed countries from the region that experienced declines this year, with the exception of Taiwan, all showed signs of a need to improve their tangible and scientific infrastructure.
Globally, despite a change in order, the top five most competitive economies in the world remained the same as in the previous year.
The United States improved three positions to return to the top spot, followed by Hong Kong (dropping a spot to 2nd), and Singapore which remained 3rd.
The top five was rounded up by the Netherlands (which moved up one place), and Switzerland (which dropped a place).
The remaining places in the top 10 were occupied largely by Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden rank 6th, 8th and 9th respectively. While the UAE (7th) and Canada (10th) close the top of the rankings.
Arturo Bris noted: “This year’s results reinforce a crucial trait of the competitiveness landscape. Countries undertake different paths towards competitiveness transformation.”
He added: “Countries at the top of the rankings share an above the average performance across all competitiveness factors, but their competitiveness mix varies. One economy, for example, may build its competitiveness strategy around a particular aspect such as its tangible and intangible infrastructure; another may approach competitiveness through their governmental efficiency.”
The rankings are compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland, using 258 indicators. ‘Hard’ data such as national employment and trade statistics are weighted twice as much as the ‘soft’ data from an Executive Opinion Survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life. This year 63 countries are ranked.
Source: Human Resources
KUALA LUMPUR: The government will review several trade agreements such as Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to see if its viable to be part of the trade partnerships.
Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) secretary-general Datuk Seri J. Jayasiri said as there is no trade minister yet, the review exercise is something definite to be undertaken by the new government.
Jayasiri said the decision will be reviewed by the new minister to ratify, citing that it requires some legislation to be amended.
He was speaking to reporters after the launching ceremony of the SEMICON Southeast Asia 2018 here today.
He added the trade agreements negotiations are currently still on going, and believed that the new government will be supportive of RCEP and CPTPP.
“Although 11 countries have negotiated for the CP-TPP, while six countries need to ratify the trade agreement to enter into force,” he said.
CPTPP's 11 members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
RCEP is a free trade agreement between 10 Asean countries involving Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Further, Jayasiri said Malaysia's trade performance has been good for the last two years, better than expected.
“This year we project Malaysia's trade to hit around 5.9 per cent growth for 2018. Based on the first-quarter result, we are going on the right track.
“Our trade performance is also conditional on what happened to the external environment. But it seems to show positive sign and augurs well for the Malaysian export,” he said.
Jayasiri pointed out the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector has been the main player for the Malaysian manufacturing, contributing about 36.7 per cent of the total exports.
“We are generally optimistic that the E&E sector would contribute a large portion to our export,” he said.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said the agency garnered about RM485 million approved investments in the first-quarter 2018.
“The semiconductor investments are largely in Penang, both from local and foreign investors,” he said.
Azman said the agency intends to use the same incentive scheme under the Promotion of Investment Act.
“As the industry gears for higher technology, certainly we will improve the incentive to attract more high-technology project in the future,” he added.
Jayasiri said more importantly Malaysia should have more business friendly environment and supportive ecosystem with other essential for potential investors.
SEMICON is the region's premier gathering of the global electronics manufacturing supply chain with over 400 booths and 300 exhibitors participation throughout the three-dat event.
The event is also expected to attract more than 8,000 visitors at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), featuring three theme pavilions, four global pavilions and technology forums to address key issues in the electronics manufacturing supply chain.
SEMI Southeast Asia president Ng Kai Fai said the global semiconductor growth is expected to grow significantly for the next few years. Last year, the sector's revenue surpassed US$400 billion, a 21 per cent increase year-on-year.
“We believe the sector going to grow in this momentum to 2018, probably at US$450 billion and we project to surpass US$500 billion in 2019,” he said, adding that it was a huge potential for electronic sector in Southeast Asia.
Ng said it foresees the catalyst for the semiconductor to grow with the utilisation in Internet of Things (IoTs), artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and cloud computing.
Giant Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise has all but sold out a $330 million residential skyscraper in the Melbourne CBD, its first project to "top out" in the Australian market so far.
The success at the Conservatory – it is 95 per cent pre-sold – follows on the heels of the sell-out of UEM Sunrise's much bigger Aurora tower, a 92-storey apartment tower in the centre of the city.
However, the smaller Conservatory project, with 446 one, two and three-bed apartments, will be finished first after the physical structure was completed earlier this month.
"It is certainly a big deal for us," managing director Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib told The Australian Financial Review. "It tells the industry that we deliver."
Around 70 per cent of the apartments have been sold to offshore buyers. Prices ranged from $485,000 for a one-bed apartment to $875,00 for a two-bed, two-bath unit.
On a per square metre rate, apartments in Conservatory sold at around $11,500.
Settlement is coming up in September. It is a process UEM Sunrise is monitoring closely, in some cases helping connect investors with buyers in a secondary market.
"We're also getting in touch with all foreign banks for the foreign buyers," Mr Anwar said.
"In the case of Malaysia we've been talking to Maybank. Maybank is going to help us provide facilities for the respective Malaysian buyers. We're trying to basically match them together."
Maybank has also stumped up construction finance for Conservatory, while a club of lenders – Westpac, along with Asian banks OCBC and DBS – backed Aurora.
The 42-storey Conservatory is at the northern end of the CBD overlooking the Carlton Gardens.
The $770 million Aurora tower is rising opposite Melbourne Central. It has 941 apartments and a component of 252 serviced apartments, which were bought by Singapore's Ascendas Hospitality Trust for $120 million.
A third project will be under way by the end of the year, after the Malaysian developer took over the Victoria Police complex on St Kilda Road and engaged architect Zaha Hadid to design a luxury apartment complex.
Not all offshore players in Melbourne have enjoyed the success UEM Sunrise has to date. Singapore's Fragrance is struggling to find buyers for more than one-quarter of the apartments in the so-called Beyonce tower.
A $154 million South Yarra project by Malaysia's Gamuda Land has sold 70 per cent of its units and is not yet profitable.
Mr Anwar will assess further opportunities to develop on their merits but is clearly bullish on the city's prospects as a population boom gathers pace.
"I like the buzz, the vibe the city has," he said, listing Melbourne's strengths in business culture, leisure activities, and education and healthcare.
"That's why people are very attracted to Melbourne.
"You can see by the number of flights coming in and how busy the airport is. It shows there is still a long way to go in terms of the potential of Melbourne."
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