China, COVID-19 – How things may play out for both import and export from China for mid-market businesses


China, COVID-19 – How things may play out for both import and export from China for mid-market businesses

By , October 19, 2020

In this episode, host Craig West is joined by Michel Clifton, Principal of MJC Asia Consulting, who has 20 years of experience in trade and defence appointments across North Asia, primarily in Greater China and Japan. Michael shares his intelligence dealing with Asia, trade, export and finance. Phillip Volk, Succession Plus Partner in Victoria, also joins the discussion. For business owners seeking to improve relations with China and the Greater Asian economy, Michael advocates the key is to engage with a boarder network, may this be Chambers of Commerce, banks, lawyers or peak organisations. He recites there is rich experience, knowledge and endless sources of support out there, and businesses need to be more prepared to extend their hand in search of it.

A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Michael served in the Australian Army for 20 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He subsequently served a further 20 years with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission until his retirement from the Australian Public Service in December 2018. He now serves as President of the Australia-China Business Council, NSW and consults to Australian companies seeking to enhance their presence in Asian markets.

Michael’s career highlights include almost six years as head of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s network in China and assignments in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka.  He has served as a Departmental Liaison Officer and adviser to the Minister for Trade, and Chief of Staff to a senior Cabinet Minister. Michael speaks Chinese and Japanese, and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of New South Wales.


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Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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