A/Prof Leanne Piggott, Director of Business Education at The University of Sydney Business School will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.
Speaker Introduction: Associate Professor Leanne Piggott is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney. She is the Director of Business Education at The University of Sydney Business School where she teaches political risk management and related topics on the global business environment including a course on energy and environmental sustainability.
Leanne’s research interests focus on the nexus between energy, food, and water security, with a particular focus on supply and demand fundamentals, the geopolitics of oil markets, and off-shore investment as a strategy for food security. In relation to the latter topic, she is currently consulting for a Middle East Gulf country in developing their food security strategy and multi-billion dollar food security investment strategy.
Leanne is a regular contributor to the executive education program on national security at the Australian National Security College, speaking mainly on energy security and the challenges of Australia’s liquid fuel insecurity.
Leanne is a member of the Business 20 (B20), which leads engagement with G20 governments on behalf of the international business community. She is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She is currently co-editing a volume in DFAT’s series of Documents on Australia on Australian Foreign Policy, on Australia and the Middle East in the post-1950 period.
Abstract Title: Towards an Australia-GCC FTA: strategies and frameworks to facilitate long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships between GCC importers and regional Australia’s agriculture exporters
Co-Author: Michael Katz, Associate Lecturer at The University of Sydney Business School
Abstract Overview: The States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, provide an important market for Australian agribusiness. In 2013, GCC trade with Australia was AU$12.307 billion, of which Australian exports of live animals and other agricultural and food products comprised around AU$2 billion (DFAT 2015). With rapidly growing populations but minimal arable land and potable water, GCC countries are increasingly turning to trade and investment to underpin their national food security strategies. Having learned lessons from failed investments in food in developing countries, often food insecure themselves, GCC countries are now looking for export and investment opportunities in low-risk, net food exporting countries such as Australia. Whilst negotiations for an Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA remain suspended pending the GCC’s review of its trade agreement policy, the resumption and successful outcome of talks leading to an FTA between Australia and the GCC would provide invaluable opportunities for the development of regional agriculture in Australia.
The aim of this paper is to identify possible opportunities for agribusinesses in regional Australia by examining the needs of GCC countries to secure long-term, sustainable food imports and explore how regional businesses might best align with these opportunities, both in the short-term and in the future as trade relations are further enhanced by the prospect of an Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA. In doing so, the authors will draw on work they recently concluded for a GCC sovereign wealth fund in developing a food security investment strategy. Discussion will include the methodology developed for devising what the authors have called a dual mandate investment strategy that delivers on a food security mandate and also achieves a minimum expected financial return. As will be argued, GCC-based investors who have a specific food security perspective differ in approach to traditional capital investments or offtake agreements. This in turn points the way to significant opportunities for Australian businesses in the agricultural sector to pursue long-term, engaged and mutually beneficial partnerships.