Business alliance to drive post-COVID-19 recovery into Asia-Pacific

Michael Weaver 16 November 2020
Matt Farrah (left) at Business Leaders' Forum in Canberra.

Matt Farrah of Farrah’s Liquor Collective signs a memorandum of understanding to sell Australian wines to Asia-Pacific buyers. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra businesses seeking to expand their networks into the Asia-Pacific region will benefit from a number of memorandums of understanding (MoU) for cross-cultural trade that were recently signed in the ACT.

The Asia-Pacific Business Alliance (APBA), launched in front of an audience of Australian business, government and industry officials at a Business Leaders’ Forum in Canberra on Friday, 6 November, will create an ecosystem for small-to-medium size Australian enterprises to access buyers, sellers and facilitators with established connections to Asia-Pacific nations.

Founding members of the not-for-profit alliance include the Agribusiness Regional Development Association (ARDA), which has received Commonwealth Government funding for three projects supporting agricultural businesses in the capital region and southern NSW; the Australian Fujian Entrepreneurs Association Incorporated (AFEAI); the China Australia Trade and Investment Council (CATIC); the Australian Vietnam Alliance (AVA); the Anhui Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia; and the Ningde Chamber of Commerce of New Zealand Incorporated.

It is expected representatives from the Singaporean and Indonesian business communities will also become members.

ARDA deputy chair Stephen Hambridge said the MoUs will help businesses rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we do business so it has never been more important to share ideas, build trusted partnerships and work together to build new trading opportunities between Australia and Asia-Pacific nations, including Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Thailand and China,” he said.

Mr Hambridge said the alliance will help local businesses embrace significant opportunities presented by the rapidly expanding digital economy, and an increasingly affluent Asia-Pacific middle-class which values high quality Australian products and experiences.

Group of people seated and standing at Business Leaders’ Forum in Canberra

The Business Leaders’ Forum in Canberra on 6 November. Photo: Supplied.

A number of businesses in the Canberra and NSW South Coast area were the first to put pen to paper for the alliance.

An MoU was signed between Canberra liquor retailer Matt Farrah, ARDA and YPA Group, a B2B platform facilitating trade opportunities between Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The agreement will open new opportunities for Mr Farrah’s Fyshwick-based business, Farrah’s Liquor Collective, to sell Australian wines to Asia-Pacific buyers.

A second MoU, signed by YPA Group and project fund facilitator Koopman Securities, establishes a joint venture in which the partners will work together to build volume and value to supply fish and seafood from the NSW South Coast to international markets.

A third MoU was signed between YPA Group and ASX-listed Australian company AuMake, which operates a fully integrated online and instore shopping experience for Asian consumers, and has sold more than $125 million worth of Australian and New Zealand products into Asia-Pacific nations during the past three years.

The agreement will enable YPA Group to source and supply Australian products direct to international buyers through AuMake’s online and offline channels.

One of the first companies to benefit from the collaboration is Kissed Earth, an Australian wellness brand created by husband and wife, and former Dancing with the Stars duo, Rachael Finch and Michael Miziner, whose products will be sold across AuMake’s channels.

Erin Tomkinson, Brendan Smyth and John Debrincat at the Business Leaders' Forum.

From left: Erin Tomkinson, Brendan Smyth and John Debrincat at the Business Leaders’ Forum in Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

ACT Commissioner for International Engagement Brendan Smyth and Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt also addressed the audience, saying it was critical for businesses to look to new markets in the Asia-Pacific.

“We live in an amazing region from a lifestyle point of view, and in terms of the goods and services we can offer the rest of the world and the rest of Australia,” said Mr Catt.

“The businesses which have done well during the past six months are those which have focused on building networks, and building relationships with customers and supply chains. The new alliance will give Canberra businesses a huge headstart in nurturing these sorts of relationships.

“Looking internationally is the thing businesses must do to keep scaling, growing and driving forward.”


READ ALSO: 2020 Canberra Women in Business Award winners announced


Mr Hambridge added that alliance members expected the three MoUs will be the first of many.

“We have exceptional produce and products in Australia,” he said. “These agreements, and the sustainable opportunities that a group such as the Asia-Pacific Business Alliance can facilitate, provide a light at the end of the tunnel for Australian businesses which have been doing it tough in 2020.”


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