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Australian TradeLinks Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee

The Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee (AJBCC) is an active group of top Australian business persons that has developed over 50 years into one of the most valuable elements in strengthening Australia-Japan ties.

The AJBCC has won wide acceptance from governments and the private sector as an effective medium for promoting increased bilateral trade and closer economic liaison. Presently, the AJBCC is focused on diversifying the bilateral commerce particularly in the ‘Services’ sector. Over the past four years, it has undertaken a major initiative with respect to ‘Infrastructure’. It is now exploring the opportunities in Japan for Australian Health care expertise.

The establishment of the AJBCC in 1962 and its JABCC counterpart was the first concrete expression of the concept of bilateral co-operation between industry. The committee emerged against a background of growing trade between Australia and Japan after the signing of the ‘milestone’ 1957 Commerce Agreement.  To date, the committees have held 50 Joint Business Conferences –Kyoto in October 2011 and Sydney in October 2012 being the two most recent.  The 51st Japan-Australia Joint Business Conference will be in Tokyo 20th – 22nd October 2013.

Membership of the two committees is corporate and drawn from the highest ranks of industrial, commercial, banking and rural interests with the Member’s representative desirably being the Chief Executive or Chairman, or the person most strategically involved with Japan.

The committee represents the majority of Australia's merchandise and services trade with Japan. Its members meet across the conference table with representatives of Japan's largest corporations such as Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, ITOCHU Corporation, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Mitsui Group, Marubeni Corporation, Toyota Corporation, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Nomura, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Japan Airlines to name just a few.

The function of the AJBCC is to supplement, not duplicate, the efforts of Governments. The committee operates entirely under private auspices, with its expenses being met by the annual membership subscriptions of companies and surpluses from activities.

The Joint Business Conference of the bilateral committees provides a forum each year for an open dialogue on a wide range of topics both regional and bilateral. Representatives of the committees research and present papers on key issues of mutual interest and concern, for instance the impact on the bilateral business relationship of the dynamic changes taking place in the world economy; impact on the commercial relationship of climate change; directions of trade and investment and barriers to future growth in Resources, Agribusiness, Tourism, to nominate three.

The two committees seek to establish closer ties between the businesses of both countries, to promote and facilitate trade relations and to break down barriers to understanding. Close attention is also given to developing and fostering cultural relations.   For instance, in the past in conjunction with the Australia Japan Foundation, the Committee has funded English language teaching programs for Japanese language professionals who train other Japanese in the skills and methods of English language teaching. At an earlier time the Committee conducted an exchange program between younger business people.

The Committee has developed and grown substantially in strength since 1962 to a membership of fifty-five organisations responsible for more than 80 per cent of Australia’s exports to Japan.

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