Doing Business in Asia – 2nd March 2020

Download Event Insights by contributor Genevieve Neilson, member of the Trade Policy Committee for Professionals in International Trade.


On Monday 2 March 2020 at Stone & Chalk, Sydney, we welcomed members and guests to discuss Trade & Investment Opportunities for Australia in the new Decade.

Through an excellent panel discussion we had the opportunity to talk about what Doing Business in Asia means for Australia at this time of economic uncertainty and the global humanitarian crisis caused by the coronavirus. Economic powerhouses in Asia, Australia’s geographic proximity to Asian markets and the recent FTAs offer huge opportunities for further trade and investment. Insights guided discussion into how Australia could overcome the downside of closer than ever links with Asia and highlighted key opportunities and challenges for Australians doing business in Asia in the next decade. 

Thank you to all panellists

Professionals in International Trade (PIT) was proud to introduce an incredible panel to the members and guests of PIT. Panellists at the event included Mrs Salila Tepkasetkul, director of the Thai Trade Centre in Sydney, Ms. Alma F. Argayoso, Special Trade Representative from the Philippine Trade and Investment CentrePhilippine Consulate General – Sydney, Mr. Adam O’Neill, Founder, Asia Advisory, Mr. David Thomas, CEO Think Global Consulting and President of the Australia China SME Association (ACSME), Mr. Nigel Lovell, Founder and Director of OpenSparkz. The panel was moderated by Mr. Alexandre Kohn, Chair of Professionals in International Trade and Partnerships Manager at Polyglot Group who stepped in for Mr. Duco van Breemen, General Manager of Haymarket HQ (HHQ). We misssed Duco on the evening and look forward to welcoming him to moderate the next PIT event panel discussion!

  • Mrs. Salila Tepkasetkul, director of the Thai Trade Centre in Sydney. The Thai Trade Centre is the government agency under the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand. Her responsibility is to promote and facilitate trade relations between Thailand and Australia, New Zealand and Pacific countries by inviting potential importers to visit international trade fairs in Thailand, organising business matching between Thai exporters and Australian importers and making collaboration with associations, business council and government agencies in order to expand trade opportunities. Her education background is in Economics with both Bachelor and Masters’ degrees and e-Business management Masters’ degree from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She has been working for the Ministry of Commerce for 20 years and has experience in policy and strategic planning, strengthening a capability of Thai entrepreneurs and promoting e-Commerce for Thai SMEs. In addition, she has participated on the National Start-up Committee to promote the Start-up ecosystem in Thailand.
  • Ms. Alma F. ArgayosoSpecial Trade Representative and Consul (Commercial), Philippine Consulate General – Philippine Trade & Investment Center. Ms. Argayoso is the Philippines’ trade representative to Australia responsible for advancing the country’s trade and investment interests through trade promotion, investment promotion, and trade policy negotiation. She also has oversight in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the rest of the Oceania region. Previously, she was assigned at the Embassy of the Philippines in The Hague, The Netherlands between 2007-2011, and at the Embassy of the Philippines in Jakarta, Indonesia between 2012 to 2017. Prior to joining government service, Ms. Argayoso worked in the private sector managing a portfolio of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) for one of the biggest foods and beverage conglomerates in the Philippines. She has also held managerial positions, mainly in brand management, public relations, sales and marketing for companies engaged in manufacturing, retail and entertainment.
  • Mr. David ThomasFounder and CEO of Think Global Consulting and President of the Australia China SME Association (ACSME). Think Global Consulting facilitates business and investment between developed and emerging markets, particularly in China. Mr. Thomas is a renowned keynote speaker, thought leader and entrepreneur focused on providing business leaders with the knowledge and tools to navigate the cross-cultural challenges involved in doing business in Asia Pacific and helping them develop their own strategy for success in the region. He is well known in Australia as a ‘China Expert’ with a wealth of experience in financial services, business and investment, having lived and worked in London, Hong Kong and Sydney. Over the past thirty years, he has inspired, motivated and educated global business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to pay attention to the massive growth potential offered by modern China and other emerging countries and taken them on a journey to identify and build long-term business and investment relationships.
  • Mr. Adam O’Neill, Founder of Asia Advisory, an Australian based start-up helping businesses to attract, grow and retain clients from Asia. Asia Advisory is based at Haymarket HQ in Sydney, Australia and provides Digital Marketing, B2B distribution partnerships and e-commerce solutions. Asia Advisory’s clients are predominantly Australian-based tourism businesses providing experiences for travellers from across the world. Mr. O’Neill has over 15 years of advertising and marketing experience working with international clients, Government bodies, and small businesses such as the Australia-Korea Business Council, Australia-China Business Council, LG Electronics, LVMH, Red Bull, Rolex, Tourism Australia, Unilever and Westpac. Career highlights include leading Tourism Australia’s International media account and launching the Restaurant Australia campaign into 14 markets. He has also led advertising campaigns for Destination NSW, and Singapore Airlines. Education includes a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Organisational Psychology from Macquarie University Sydney and studies Korean at the Korean Education Centre, Sydney.
  • Mr. Nigel Lovell, Founder and Director of OpenSparkz. Mr. Lovell is an established entrepreneur (founder) with over 35 years start-up and exit experience across multiple sectors primarily in financial services as an electronic payments and terminal solutions provider to Australian financial institutions (incl. Westpac, St George, CBA, Suncorp, CUSCAL and ANZ). Also, globally through USA, Europe, Africa, China and Asia including, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. He recently sold his group of privately held family companies and seeded several start-ups. Currently he is a founder and Director of OpenSparkz and founder and CEO of PAX Technology Australia P/L.

Meet the Moderator

Mr. Duco van Breemen, General Manager of Haymarket HQ. Mr van Breeman is the founding General Manager of Haymarket HQ (HHQ), Australia’s first innovation hub and co-working space supporting entrepreneurs to grow into the Asia-Pacific. HHQ is funded by all levels of government and companies such as Alibaba and Australia Post. In the past three years, Mr. van Breeman and his team supported nearly 600 companies expand into Asia and were responsible for bringing $700m of companies into Australia.  Prior to coming to Australia, he lived in China for seven years where he worked with MNCs and state-owned enterprises and helped form one of China’s first industrial incubators.

This event was made possible through the support of our valued venue partner Stone & Chalk. Thank you for your support of the Professionals in International Trade business community. All guests loved the venue and your hospitality.