Trade and Investment Between Australia and the U.S.

The Hon. Dr. Kevin Rudd became Australian’s ambassador to the United States in March 2023. We sat with Ambassador at the Biltmore Hotel to ask about Miami-Australia trade and investment.

The Hon. Dr. Kevin Rudd became Australian’s ambassador to the United States in March 2023. He had served as Australia’s Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and then again as Prime Minister in 2013. He recently visited Miami, including making a presentation about the future of China-US relations at Florida International University. We sat with Ambassador at the Biltmore Hotel to ask about Miami-Australia trade and investment.

This your first trip to Miami. Why Miami, and what are your impressions?

Miami, I’ve got to say, is just a complete eye opener for me. The dynamism of what’s happening here is quite remarkable. And it’s not just the growth of the local economy. It’s also this extraordinary opportunity you have being the focal point for South America and the Caribbean. For those of us from Australia, who have Commonwealth links with some of the Caribbean states which go back for years, there’s a logic for expanding our presence and activity here.

What are the hallmarks of Miami from your point of view?

Well, don’t underestimate the power of marketing the wares of Miami, like the Deco buildings of Miami Beach. You have a modern thriving economy that funds academic institutions, and a growth strategy anchored in financial services, renewable energy, and information technology, but the fact is that, actually, it’s a really nice place. And that should not be underestimated.

You [Florida] are a big economy by American state standards, along with the big states of California, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New York. This is one of the powerhouses of America. I think the future lies in the enhancement of the investment relationship between the two economies. 

What sort of opportunities to you see between Australia and Miami?

Something your readers may not be aware of is that Australia has the world’s third largest funds management industry. Simply because of our policy of mandatory national saving, which has been in place for about 30 years, we now have $3 trillion under management – and this will grow to $5 trillion in a few years. Because our economy is [based on] 27 million people, we cannot invest all that at home and must invest in other large markets. Therefore, there are great opportunities to invest in the future of this [Miami] economy. So, my message to the folks back home and to investors from this part of the world as well, is to start looking at diverse new opportunities in both directions.

What other ways can Miami and Australia collaborate?

I took a spin out at Florida International University. The research programs at FIU in certain critical areas -including in marine science and renewables -provide opportunities for a whole bunch of research collaborations with counterpart institutions in Australia – and, frankly, for venture capital businesses from the sciences of these universities as they do their thing.

What about increasing trade with South Florida?

What I have found in life is that trade often follows investment. So, if you get the investments right, I’m sure the trade relations will follow.

So, where do you see the future of Miami-Australian relations?

The reason most of the American fund managers travel to Australia each year is because it has, as I’ve said, the third largest [amount of] investible capital in the world, $3 trillion under management for an economy of 27 million people. So therefore, where the industry goes in America, you will find that Australian funds usually follow. As far as making a prediction, it’s that the Australian funds management industry – and there are about eight large pension funds there -will be finding their way to this part of the world soon.

They’re active on the West Coast, they’re active in New York, they’ve become increasingly active in Boston, and I think you’ll find activity growing both in Texas and in Florida for related reasons -market opportunity, concentration of funds management expertise, and frankly, collaborating on investments in third country markets. I can see a future where, for example, you guys -given your expertise in Latin America -become co-investors with Australian funds in growth stocks in in the hemisphere. I think this has a particular significance for Australian interests given our presence in Latin America, and Miami as a jumping off place.

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