Business School Topics
The University of Western Australia's Business School student Andrew Fragomeli met with global leaders, including United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, at November's APEC Summit in Hawaii.
Andrew, who was in his final year of a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Commerce combined program in 2011, received a scholarship to attend the summit as part of the Global Voices Youth Delegation. He completed a research fellowship examining ‘behind the borders' trade barriers in the Pacific Rim region, before joining nine other Australian university students in meetings with politicians and business leaders at the APEC Summit.
The delegation met with Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Australia's Ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
In addition, the group attended the APEC CEO Summit and met business leaders including Lindsay Fox AC, founder and chairman of Linfox, John Denton, Corrs CEO, Mark Johnson AO, Chairman of AGL Energy and Macquarie Infrastructure Group, and Gina Reinhart and Sam Walsh from Rio Tinto. They also attended speeches by the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Presidents of Peru, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Russia, Indonesia, Chile and the United States, and the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Andrew, who will join The Treasury in a graduate role this year, found the opportunity to meet with Trade Minister Craig Emerson particularly exciting. ‘Dr Emerson was able to talk about trade and small business, and was relating his experiences as a small business owner. He also spoke about electricity infrastructure, which was very topical and related to my research project,' said Andrew.
The highlight of the experience, said Andrew, was listening to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. ‘He's a fascinating character and opportunity to hear him speak in person was incredible,' he said. ‘He is a funny and witty guy, very smart.'
Andrew also attended cocktail evenings and a business symposium, where he was able to meet representatives of major finance firms and investment banks. ‘This opportunity gave me the ability to network with all the people that were there,' said Andrew. ‘Your networking skills get better because you're put in that position. You never know who you will be meeting next.'
The Global Voices delegation joined student groups from Canada, Russia, China and other APEC nations. ‘We met a lot of students who are a similar age, with similar aspirations,' said Andrew. ‘Down the track, Global Voices may also build its alumni network.'
Andrew credits Associate Professor Abu Siddique, from the UWA Business School's Economics discipline, with sparking his interest in development economics, and said attending the APEC Summit was a chance to explore the practical implications of the field. ‘You stay in classes and learn about all this but don't really see it in action. This was a chance to apply and complement what I already knew,' he said.
Andrew's research examined ‘behind the borders' impediments to trade, and focused on barriers to capital investment and electricity infrastructure.
‘APEC members need to address behind the border barriers if they want to expand trade and investment. Behind the border barriers are increasing costs, increasing risk and discouraging competition. Reducing tariffs to zero per cent is effectively mute if behind the border barriers prevent investment and trade,' Andrew wrote in an opinion piece on East Asia Forum.
A full summary of the APEC Summit, including videos, can be found on the Global Voices website: www.globalvoices.org.au/2011/11/global-voices%E2%80%99-delegation-to-apec-returns-home/
Andrew's opinion piece can be found on the East Asia Forum: www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/12/01/apec-facing-up-to-tariff-reforms/