Australian companies doing business in the U.S., especially in high-tech industries, are often relatively young and new to the international market, said John Hodges, manager of international trade development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, at a Feb. 11 seminar on Australian aerospace and defense industries.

      The country has only recently shifted its economic focus to the outside world, said Mr. Hodges, and Georgia companies hoping to take advantage of opportunities in Australia should be aware that even though both parties share similar backgrounds and languages, inexperience and cultural differences could wreck an agreement.

      Australians frequently send their chief engineer or project manager, who is often inexperienced in business negotiations, to deal with potential partners or clients, a situation that can lead to misunderstandings, said Dan Dinur, an Atlanta attorney with Dinur & Associates.

      Frequent changes in the principals involved in discussions, while common in the U.S., can make Australians uncomfortable, as can the U.S. habit of not having the decision maker directly involved in negotiations, he added.

      Mr. Dinur works with Camatic Pty. Ltd., an Australian company that was subcontracted to provide the seating for the Olympic Stadium, and which hopes to remain in the U.S. to bid on other projects, including seating for the Rose Bowl.

      The seminar, held at Sun Trust Bank at 25 Park Place, was co-sponsored by the Australian Trade Commission and the Georgia Department of Industry Trade and Tourism (GDITT).

      For more information, call Scott Gray of the trade commission at (404) 880-1707, or Kevin Langston of GDITT at (404) 656-3571.