There are already many successful inter-country collaborations. Victorian-headquartered companies like BHP, Orica, SEEK and Carsales.com have strong footholds in Latin America and our government is helping Victorian companies and institutions such as Rubicon Water, Gekko Systems and Deakin University increase their presence in the region.
Currently, Victoria’s relationship with Latin America is dominated by goods and service-based trade, with international education, mining and METS (mining equipment, technology and services) all playing an intrinsic part in driving export revenue for our state.
The figures do the talking: bilateral trade between Victoria and Latin America exceeded A$1.9 billion in 2015-16, with manufacturing, technology, finance mining and agriculture being the key growth sectors.
International politics also comes into play. Specifically, Brexit and changes in US foreign policies have seen many Latin Americans looking beyond the US and the UK for study destinations – which is Australia’s gain.
Visit by the Honourable Linda Dessau, AC Governor of Victoria
Victorian Governor, Linda Dessau (centre) in Santiago with members of the Chilean/Victorian Alumni network
Factoring in these shifting political developments, it’s prescient that the Victorian Governor, Linda Dessau recently embarked on a five-day mission to Latin America. Latin American student numbers to Victoria have grown four-fold in the past decade, and the Governor’s mission outlined initiatives that will attract even more of its students to the state and encourage more Victorian students to study in Latin America.
“The Governor’s visit helped open doors with education stakeholders, including with ministry scholarship agencies – especially in Colombia, one of Victoria’s key markets for inbound students,” notes Santiago office Senior Investment and Trade Director, Natalia Gorrono. Along with the rest of the team in the Chilean capital, Natalia provides market intelligence and guidance to help make Victorian businesses competitive in trade, education and investment.
The importance of alumni as advocates and ambassadors to help position Victoria’s education sector cannot be under-estimated either, points out Natalia, who notes that the Governor helped launch the Colombian Alumni network while in Bogota. “Most students returning from Victoria end up in high-level positions both in the private and public sector and they can help increase student flow and spearhead business opportunities for our state.”
Autumn 2018 Update
Globally Connected: Victoria's Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy
The Globally Connected: Victoria’s Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy was launched on 29 May 2018 by The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MLC, Minister for Trade and Investment at the Australia-Latin Business Council and Trade and Investment Victoria dinner.
VIDEO: Victoria’s Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy launch
Key stakeholders in the Victoria-Latin America relationship attended the event, which underscored the momentum that has been established since the Victorian Government opened an office in Santiago in 2016 and since direct flights to Santiago were launched by LATAM Airlines in October 2017.
The Strategy sets out the Victorian Government’s vision for enhanced engagement with Latin America as well as underscoring the important efforts and initiatives that have taken place to date to strengthen Victoria’s relationship with the region.
The Victorian Government is committed to informing Victorian stakeholders, including the business and education sectors about the opportunities to collaborate and do business beyond traditional partners and to understand the diverse opportunities that Latin America presents.
Priority sectors include Mining and METS, International Education, Food and Agricultural Innovation and Liveability, while emerging sectors include Tourism and Major Events and Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals.
The Government plans to increase Victoria’s exports to Latin America as well as grow student numbers and visitors from Latin America going forward.
- To download and read the full Strategy, click here.
- To download and read an accessible version of the full Strategy, click here.
Latin America is open for business. During a period when certain economies are becoming increasingly protectionist, others are embracing the opportunity to leverage the benefits of global trade through the expansion of networks created by free trade agreements.
Australia and key Latin American markets have demonstrated their commitment to free trade with several agreements under negotiation or signed in recent months, broadening opportunities for Victorian companies.
In February, the Peru Australia FTA (PAFTA) was signed by Australia’s and Peru’s Trade Ministers. In March, Australia signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership 11, which brings together eleven countries, including Australia, Chile, Mexico and Peru among other key Asia-Pacific countries. In late March, the third round of Pacific Alliance FTA negotiations was held in Chile. The Pacific Alliance, comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru extends Australia’s FTA network to Colombia, a country undergoing significant changes following the peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which brought an end to 50 years of conflict.
These agreements present opportunities for Victorian companies and institutions:
- The PAFTA provides improved market access for Victorian farmers, dairy producers and processed food suppliers as well as METs companies.
- TPP-11 builds on Australia’s existing agreements with Chile and Peru by providing a pathway for further business opportunities with Mexico, Victoria’s largest trading partner in Latin America.
- The four countries of the Pacific Alliance, together, account for 37 per cent of Latin America's population, 35 per cent of its nominal GDP, 46 per cent of its exports, and 50 per cent of its total imports, again offering an opportunity to facilitate business for Victorian companies across all four markets.
Summer 2018 Update
The new Victorian Government Trade and Investment office in Santiago, Chile; launch of Latam’s direct flight between Melbourne and Santiago and the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Peru as well as the Pacific Alliance have paved the way for enhanced trade and investment ties between Victoria and Latin America.
In 2018, Victoria’s Minister for Trade and Investment will release the government’s Latin America Trade and Investment Strategy, which will outline the key markets and priority sectors that align with Victoria's capabilities.
Opportunities for Victoria:
- Our enhanced presence on the ground will help Victorian businesses gain market intelligence and enter or expand their trade activity with Latin America through the office’s key relationships with the businesses sector and governments in-market.
- Improved air links will drive increased two-way travel by businesspeople, tourists and students as well as family and friends.
- The rapid conclusion of the Australia-Peru FTA negotiations will facilitate market access for Victoria's METS, infrastructure and Agtech companies as well as food and beverage exporters. Plans to conclude negotiations of the Australia-Pacific Alliance FTA in 2018 will multiply these opportunities with key markets that are open for business.