Securing our prosperity through greater trade and investment

15.08.2017 The Hon Steven Ciobo MP
Securing our prosperity through greater trade and investment

Australia has entered its 26th consecutive year of economic growth, in no small part due to the contribution of trade and investment. Last year Australia’s goods and services exports rose 7.6% in real terms, and net exports contributed 1.4 percentage points to our 2.4% annual growth in real GDP. Australia’s relatively small population means that we will continue to rely on imported capital and bigger overseas markets to keep our standards of living high.

That is why the Turnbull Government is pursuing an ambitious trade agenda to create new opportunities for Australian businesses that will in turn contribute to more investment, more economic growth and more jobs. 

At the top of the list is the Indonesia- Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Indonesia is growing into a powerhouse economy with a population of more than 250 million people and an expanding middle class that will demand more goods and services over time.

The Turnbull Government also recently launched FTA negotiations with Hong Kong and Peru. A FTA with Hong Kong would complement our FTA with China and further integrate the Australian economy with Asia. It will be a very modern FTA, focused on services access.

In the coming months, we will launch FTA negotiations with the European Union. Australia is continuing to progress our economic relationship with the UK through the Trading Working Group, with a mind to launching formal FTA negotiations when the time is right.

At the regional level, we are intensifying negotiations to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – a deal that brings together nine of Australia’s top 13 trading partners, almost 30 per cent of global GDP and 60 per cent of our two-way trade.

In parallel, ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand are reviewing AANZFTA to ensure the Agreement remains relevant to business.

The government is also delivering tools to help Australian businesses understand and utilise our existing free trade agreements. We recently delivered another round of FTA Training Provider Grants that are designed to help businesses around Australia tap into surging export markets. The Export Council of Australia is one of several organisations receiving such a grant.

The Turnbull Government’s ambitious trade agenda is a crucial component of our plan to keep Australia’s economy growing and creating opportunities across our society, both now and into the future. I look forward to continuing to work with important stakeholders like the Export Council of Australia in achieving the right policy settings for domestic economic growth, and the jobs they bring for Australians across industry sectors.

*This article was first published on page 1 of  Winter 2017 International Business Today Magazine.


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