Sep 2016
Fri, 02 Sep 2016

Let’s Remember US Ambassador John Berry: 5 cool things and 10 worldly lessons

Article by Duff Watkins
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US Ambassador John Berry is about to conclude his time in Australia so let’s remember 5 cool things about him:


1. He headed the modernisation of US National Zoo.
2. He led a workforce of 2 million people as Director of the US Office of Personnel Management
3. He’s the former CFO and COO of Dept. of Interior
4. He managed 40% of US federal law enforcement officers while at the US Treasury Dept.
5. He has the best piece of management advice you’ll ever hear (see below).




10 Worldly Things I Learned from Ambassador John Berry:

1.  The Australia/US Free Trade Agreement (now 10 years old) is perhaps the most successful, win-win, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) ever.  For example, over 350,000 jobs were created in Australia alone as a result of that FTA, more than were created in the US.


2.  Last year alone, Australia exported $2.2 billion in beef and $471 million in wine/beer to the US (hic!). That illustrates why the Trans Pacific Partnership is so significant to Australia:  It’s a state-of-the-art upgrade of the existing, already successful FTA.  Thus the Trans Pacific Partnership bodes even better for Australia and the 11 other participating countries.


3.  Both the existing Australia/US Free Trade Agreement and proposed Trans Pacific Partnership are about creating high quality jobs. 


4.  About 98% of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is done but the last 2% are the hardest and most interesting because the last few cards will be put on the table.


5.  The crux of The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is that it establishes the “rules of the road” for economies for both East and West Pacific.  Imagine 12 countries with mega-billions of dollars, all playing by the same rules.  It’d be the Economic Olympics!



6.  But it’s is not a Bikie Club where only certain members are allowed in. It’s open to all and that’s the point of the TPP: to craft an agreement that attracts others to participate in world trade while adhering to the highest standards.


7.  It’s not gold, it’s platinum.  The TPP is new and entirely different from anything in the past.  Yes, it deals with traditional things (e.g. tariffs) but it encompasses much more: environment, power standards, labour standards, IP, work safety, all aspects and levels of the economy.  That’s why it’s a platinum standard and not merely gold.

For example, the Environmental section alone in the TPP would be among the most important ever signed by the US.


8.  A large and very important section of the TPP concerns Intellectual Property rights in the 21st century, namely, how to deal with information in our modern age while protecting innovation.

For example, Australia’s biotherapy company CSL is one of the top companies on our planet. Copyright protection for them is important. The TPP won’t grant them a permanent lock on their IP, but it ensures that they receive the right to a fair return on investment.


9.  Where Ideas Come to Breathe.  Australia is a genius country; there’s no shortage of bright ideas here.
So Ambassador Berry started the “Ambassador’s Innovation Roundtable” to bring together a range of international experts to discuss US-Australian innovation success stories, challenges and commercial opportunities. The aim is to establish Australia as a place where innovative ideas come to breathe rather than go to die.




10.  Best piece of management advice you’ll ever hear.   When you’re in charge of 2,500 animals at a national zoo, all of which are quite individual; plus hundreds of human staff, who are also quite individual, you quickly learn that animals, like people, respond well to treats.


Duff Watkins hosts the AmCham Business Podcast and is Director of ExecSearch International- Australia.

You can also read Ambassador Berry’s latest address at the National Press Club of Australia on our website.

For more information on how you can contribute to the AmCham blog, check out our ‘AmCham Blog Guidelines‘ or contact our office today.

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