by Alan Thornhill
The Beijing Olympics haven’t been all fun and games for Kevin Rudd.
The Prime Minister also managed to squeeze in a little business, attending the signing of a new banking agreement and meeting Australian business people, who had contracted, successfully, for work associated with the Olympics, while he was in Beijing, over the weekend.
The National Australia Bank has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Agricultural Development Bank of China.
And Kevin Rudd attended the signing, which followed 12 months of talks between the two financial giants.
The two banks have agreed to take co-operation between them to a new level.
“This agreement has the potential to develop into a strong, bilateral agreement with the interchange of expertise, skills and personnel in agribanking,” Mr Rudd said.
He said the NAB would be “exploring a new sphere of business interaction between our two nations.”
The Trade Minister, Simon Crean, said Australia already has the world’s fourth largest pool of investment fund assets at work in China.
He said China’s equities boom and its rising levels of middle-class savings provides Australia”s “sophisticated financial services sector with enormous opportunities.”
Rudd also opened the Business Club of Australia in Beijing.
Its members include representatives of more than 40 Australian companies which secured contracts for work associated with the Beijing Olympics.
These included PTW Architects, which designed the Beijing National Acquatics Centre, which has already been given a affectionate name, as the Watercube.
Rudd has also met the Chinese president Hu Jintao and the presidents of Vietnam and the Philippines as well as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the East Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta in Beijing.
Private Briefing must, of course, assure its millions of readers, who can only stay at home and watch the games on their television sets, that the presence of all these political and business leaders in Beijing, at this time, is entirely co-incidental.
We do understand, though, that some of them did find a little time, in their busy schedules, to attend one or two events, or meet some of the athletes taking part in these games.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Saturday May 25
The Dow Jones Index rose 8.60 points to 15,303.10
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