Dr Geoff Raby - Australia's Ambassador to China
Dr Raby was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from November 2002 to November 2006. He has held a number of senior positions in DFAT, including First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division (2001-2002), Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation, Geneva (1998-2001) and First Assistant Secretary, Trade Negotiations Division (1995-1998). He was Australia's APEC Ambassador from Nov 2002 to Dec 2004.
Between 1993 and 1995, Dr Raby was head of the Trade Policy Issues Division of the OECD, Paris.
In 1991, Dr Raby established in DFAT the Northeast Asia Analytical Unit which subsequently became the East Asia Analytical Unit. He was head of the Unit from 1991 to 1993.
Between 1986 and 1991 he served in Beijing twice as head of the Embassy's Economic Section. He has also held positions as trade policy adviser to the Minister for Trade (1993) and in the Office of National Assessments (1984 to 1986).
Dr Raby was born in Melbourne, Australia, in September 1953. Before joining the Commonwealth Public Service, he was senior tutor in economics at La Trobe University. He has BEc (Hons), MEc and PhD degrees from La Trobe.
In 2007 Dr Raby was a recipient of the La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2010 he was made a guest Professor of Nankai University, Tianjin PRC. Dr Raby is a Member of the Order of Bernard O'Higgins, Chile, for services to international trade, especially for promoting agricultural trade liberalisation.
Dr Raby arrived in Beijing on 3 February 2007, and presented his Credentials to the President of the People's Republic of China, HE Mr Hu Jintao, on 11 May 2007.
To see the Full Interview press WATCH FULL PROGRAM on the Bottom RHS (after the Adv)
MELBOURNE, 29 March 2011 – Dr Geoff Raby, Australian Ambassador to China since 2007 speaks on a range of topics, following his address for Asialink – Asia Society AustralAsia Centre and the Australia China Business Council.
Having earlier focused on the ramifications for Australia of China’s most recent five-year plan, in this interview we get Dr Raby’s thoughts on broader business, social, cultural and diplomatic issues of the day, as follows:
1. Do you have some key advice for Australian businesses wishing to cement themselves in the Chinese market?
2. What is your assessment of Sino-Japanese relations following the latter country's earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear crisis?
3. This year the Chinese Government has been accused of obstructing internet services including but not limited to Gmail. Will these continued allegations have a serious impact on global engagement with China?
4. Is Australia's public image in China improving; or are we seen simply as a mine?
MELBOURNE, 29 March 2011 – Australia is more dependent on the Chinese economy as a market than any other country in the world, said Dr Geoff Raby, Australian Ambassador to China, at an Asialink – Asia Society AustralAsia Centre luncheon.
Dr Raby identified Australia’s dependence above that of the United States, Japan and even South Korea – and he does not expect the situation to change.
“It’s hard to conceive the possibility of any other country on earth ever again replacing China as Australia’s largest export market,” he said.
MELBOURNE, 29 March 2011 – Australia’s exports to China and subsequent economic strength is perversely connected with poor economic policy in China, said Dr Geoff Raby, Australian Ambassador to China, at an Asialink - Asia Society AustralAsia Centre luncheon.
“It’s easy to talk about rebalancing the Chinese economy … but much more difficult to actually do so, particularly when China limits the number of instruments it has at its disposal,” he said.
Dr Raby said that there’s a big gap between Central Government intentions and what actually happens on the ground, which has given Australia’s mining and energy sectors tremendous opportunities for growth.
The Age 6/6/2011
Departing ambassador flays Rudd
AUSTRALIA'S ambassador in Beijing has launched a thinly veiled attack on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in a speech rebuking those who speak Chinese but "do not understand how China works".
"To speak Chinese is not to know China," Dr Raby told a high-powered gathering of more than 400 Australian corporate leaders in Beijing yesterday in a speech titled What does it mean to be China literate?
The Australian 19/5/2011
Press the flesh or fail in China, executives told
AUSTRALIA'S ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, has accused senior Australian executives of not having enough knowledge of, or interest in, our largest trading partner.
Dr Raby said they were also not properly developing relationships.
Australia is most economically dependent on the world's second-largest economy, with 25 per cent of our exports going to China, a bigger share than to Japan or South Korea.
Dr Raby said the lack of attention to China had adversely affected Australian business and the absence of business leaders from many sectors visiting the country had been noted by the Chinese, who were sending orders elsewhere as a result.
"One of the things that has so surprised me in my time here has been the number of senior figures in business or public life who were making their very first visit to China only after they had already achieved high office in Australia," Dr Raby said in Beijing yesterday at the the annual conference of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The Wall Street Journal 4/3/2011
Australia’s Ambassador, The Big China Bull From Down Under
In the debate over the long-term outlook for China’s economy, count Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby among the unmitigated bulls.
“I’m absolutely confident that in 20 years time China will be at least four times what it is today” in terms of gross domestic product, Mr. Raby said at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China briefing Thursday, noting that this would require average annual growth during the period of about 7.5%. “I always was and still remain enormously optimistic about China’s potential to grow.”
Dr. Geoﬀ Raby has been the Australian Ambassador to China since 2007. He ﬁrst came to Beijing back in 1986 as head of the Embassy’s Economic Section. In between, he’s held high-proﬁle posts in the Australian government, including Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Aﬀairs and Trade from 2002 to 2006. He’s also really well-read. Agenda sat down with Dr. Raby to talk about Australian-Chinese relations and the fourth annual Australian Writers’ Week.
Q - What are your goals for Chinese- Australian cultural communication?
A - To promote a greater understanding between the peoples of Australia and China. The most important thing for me is that as many Chinese people as possible understand the richness, diversity, and sophistication of Australian society. We, as you know, sell enormous amounts of resources and energy to China. China is our largest export market, our largest trading partner. We are China’s seventh largest trading partner, so we Austrailians to think more about the rest of China.
Q - What are the most common types of interaction between Australia and China currently?
A - Well, as I said, the basis of the relationship is a profound complementarity between the two economies. We have a continent the same size as China’s roughly. In terms or landmass. We have only 22 million people, but huge amounts of resources, energy, agricultural production. China’s got a lot of people, and these days it’s got a lot of capital, so you can imagine the fit is very close, and it’s just getting closer and closer. But there are many other areas. For example, we have a hundred and fifty thousand Chinese students studying in secondary and postsecondary schools. That’s more than the United States or Great Britain, and yet our population is significantly smaller than both these countries. We also had 380 thousand Chinese tourists in Australia in 2010, so a big tourism move there, a potential for the future. There’s great cooperation in science and technology. Australia’s got, I think, the third biggest number of cooperative scientific papers with Chinese writers. So it’s a very complex relationship. It works at many levels, and it’s well beyond the big-ticket resources and energy.
Q - What are some common conceptions and misconceptions the two countries have about one another?
A - It’s a very good question, and probably one that warrants serious study and not a glib answer from the Ambassadar. But, at a superficial level I think there’s a tendency in China to look at Australia really as a reflection of the United States or of Europe, to see us primarily in Western terms, rather than looking at what makes us different from the West. And from an Australian point of view, I think there’s a misconception about China that it’s still closed, it’s impenetrable. There’s a sort of mystery about China that’s a great attraction, but that can also push people back. And I do think there’s still a real lack of understanding in Australia about the extend to which economic growth and development has spread throughout the country. I think people think of China only in terms of Beijing and Shanghai, and one of the things I’ve tried to do ove rthe past four years is to get Australians to think more about the rest of China.
Q - At your talk at the Lowy Institute for International Policy you said that the more China changes, the more it stays the same. What did you mean by that?
A - The context is that I was here in the 1980s, and China was a vastly diﬀerent place. To have something like the Bookwormhere would have been inconceivable. During the eighties you would never imagine such a thing would ever exist. The idea that Chinese and laowai could cohabit, either as couples or just share the same apartment blocks or whatever… You had very limited access to Chinese friends. Chinese people were extremely constrained in what they could do. They were controlled by the danwei; the danwei decided where they worked, who they married, and so on and so forth. It’s just unbelievable to think that in the short space of twenty-odd years, you’d have such an open society. Chinese are free to travel overseas, select the jobs they want to do, and so on. But in other respects it’s not changed at all, because of the particular role of the Communist Partyand the state, and the way social and political organization is conducted in China. And a lot of things flow from that: the way you do business,the way you negotiate your way through the Chinese system, is very much the way it’s always been. In fact I would say that the Party today is much stronger than it was when I left in 1991.
Q - Where do you see Chinese- Australian relations in another thirty years?
A - Assuming China continues to grow and continues to open itself up the world an integrate itself internationally, then in twenty years time I think you’ll have a Chinese economy at least four times bigger than it is today. So the implications for Australia are just profound. And one of my biggest challenges is to get Australians to actually think about these changes and understand them. I think Chinese leaders and decison makers get it. I dno’t think Australians have really begun to get their minds around what it means to have China four times bigger than today. So, I think you just have to open your mind and think how deep that integratin will go. I think to use the model and I don’t want to be misquoted on this-that if you want to think about what it might be like, just to get your head around it, think about what the relationship was like between mainland China and Hong Kong before 1997. Hong Kong had British institutions, British laws, British freedom of the press-all of that was British. And that gave Hong Kong a very particular and unique indentity, but its economy had become deeply enmeshed by that stage in China. There was no way of thinking about the Hong Kong economy except as with China’s.
Q - Who is the one Chinese figure that comes to mind as someone to watch the upcoming year?
A - Well, I’m not sure if you can print this, but I’d say Ai Weiwei. I mean, in the sense that he’s obviously getting an enormous international reputation as an artist, but he’s engaged, very constructively I think, in the development of the way Chinese people think about their society. And that’sgoing to be extremely important in the future.
Q - What events to you have planned for Writers’ Week?
A - Quite a few. In addition to bringing eight authors here, we’ll be having readings and forums here at the Bookworm. We’re having a Publisher’s Forum, which is quite big and really quite important now. We have an event-a literary reading and discussion-at the National Library of China, which is all in Chinese, and which gets very good audiences. We have a forum at Renmin University which coordinates all the Australian studies centers at universities in Beijing, where all the students come together and spend a day workshopping and meeting our authors. It’s a remarkable event because I usually see the authors afterwards and they’re all incredibly moved by their interaction with the students. It has an enormous effect on them.
Q - Have you read any good books lately?
A - Yes! In part because I’ve been traveling a lot.
Peter Hessler’s Country Driving.
Linda Jaivin’s A Most Immoral Woman, which is a ﬁctional account based on a lot of fact about the love aﬀair of George E. Morrison, a famous Australian journalist for the Times of London during the early twentieth century and a young Amercan woman [Mae Ruth Perkins]. It’s such a great read. She was one of our authors last year.
And a fantastic book by US historian Jay Taylor called The Generalissimo. It’s a new revisionist history of Chiang Kai-sheck.
And that led me to pick up a new biography of Song Meiling. I guess the KMT interest is because this year is the twentieth anniversary of Xinhai, the uprising in Wuhan in 1911 which overthrew the Qing dynasty. I think we’ll hear a lot about that history this year
Soong May-ling 宋美齡 or Soong Mei-ling, also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek March 5, 1898 – October 23, 2003 was a First Lady of the Republic of China (ROC), the wife of former President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正 / 蔣介石). She was a politician and painter. The youngest and the last surviving of the three Soong sisters, she played a prominent role in the politics of the Republic of China and was the sister in law of the leader of the Republic of China preceding her husband, Sun Yat-Sen. Wikipedia