Mallesons Stephen Jaques CEO Robert Milliner and Corrs Chambers Westgarth head John Denton met Prime Minister Julia Gillard in China on Tuesday (26 April) as part of a high-powered Australian business delegation.
Milliner and Denton were among 11 Australian corporate heavyweights that are part of the Australia- China CEO Roundtable.
The annual meeting was held in Beijing to coincide with Ms Gillard's visit to the communist nation.
"The intention of the meetings is to understand what are issues for business on both sides," said Milliner. "For the Australian services sector, not just legal, but [also] accountancy, architecture and education... We talk about what are some of the impediments to major trade and investment between Australia and China."
In addition to their roles as the heads of Mallesons and Corrs, Milliner and Denton have extensive links with the Australian business community. They are both members of the Business Council of Australia, with Milliner the chair of the council's Regulation Task Force and Denton the chair of the Global Engagement Task Force. Denton is also one of two Australian delegates to the B20, the business reference group to the G20.
Delegates from both sides - which also included the head of BHP Billiton, Marius Kloppers, and the head of ANZ, Mike Smith - gave presentations on four topics. Milliner spoke about energy security between Australia and China, while Denton addressed the role of finance in promoting economic and trade co-operation between the two countries.
After spending around four hours discussing these bilateral business issues, a formal presentation was made to Ms Gillard and Chinese vice-premier Li Keqiang.
Last year's meeting was held in Canberra, with then prime minster Kevin Rudd in attendance.