Trade Talk, 13 October 2016

The Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore joint communique

Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Lee Hsien Loong met today in Canberra to strengthen bilateral cooperation under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Singapore and Australia share an unwavering commitment to the principles of free trade with both Prime Ministers reaffirming their commitment to the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and calling for the prompt entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

PM of Australia: Joint Communique

Modernising the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Steven Ciobo and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Investment Lim Hng Kiang today signed an Agreement to Amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This comprehensive update of Australia’s second oldest free trade agreement is a key early outcome of the Australia Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and demonstrates that Australia’s FTAs are living agreements that can respond to evolving business needs.

DFAT: Media Release


Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement supporting jobs and growth

Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Steven Ciobo told the House during Question Time yesterday how an updated SAFTA would strengthen trade, services, investment and defence ties between our two countries. “The opportunities for our education providers, accountants, financial planners, lawyers and engineers to travel to Singapore and sell their services and the guarantees that it provides with access to lucrative Singaporean Government procurement contracts will mean this relationship goes from strength to strength in the future.”

APH: House of Reps Hansard

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has held TPP inquiry hearings in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. A JSCOT TPP inquiry hearing will be held in Canberra on 17 October. The deadline for submissions to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee TPP inquiry is 28 October. 

JSCOT: TPP Inquiry


Interest high for FTA seminars

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt hosted a trade seminar in Queensland last week focussing on Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with North Asia. Mr Pitt said it was great to see so many local firms participating, particularly small and medium-sized operations and he was pleased to provide practical information about our FTAs with China, Japan and Korea.

DFAT: Media Release

DFAT: Australia’s FTAs

Austrade: Search Events

Foreign investment vital to more growth and jobs

Treasurer Scott Morrison highlighted one of Australia’s greatest achievements – 25 years of uninterrupted annual economic growth during a speech in New York last week. He outlined the underlying strength and resilience of our economy, and said it was unquestionably in our national interest to welcome foreign investment.

Treasury: Speech

Australian tourism welcomes triple growth

The Australian tourism industry is recording growth three times faster than the Australian economy according to a report in the Deloitte Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook. The report concludes that growth rates on both the international and domestic visitor fronts are in record territory and while global economic foundations have weakened, the tourism outlook has strengthened and forecasts have been upgraded.

Tourism Australia: Full Article

WTO: Protectionism “flawed in so many ways”

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim held a joint seminar How to Make Trade an Engine of Growth for All in Washington this week. Mr Azevêdo focused on the need for the benefits of trade to be more widely shared and the argument for trade to be credible, balanced, and powerful. 

WTO: Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All

WTO: National Press Club Speech (Washington)

Pressures on globalisation, policies for the future and the G20

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Martin Parkinson argued in a speech to the Lowy Institute that as one of the greatest beneficiaries of globalisation, Australia must resist a retreat to protectionist policies of the past. Australia needs strong domestic policies that support open trade and investment, lift our competitiveness, attract greater investment and position us to capitalise on opportunities in the world economy.

Lowy Institute: International Economic Engagement (Audio)

DPMC: Speech

IMF communique: Globalisation under threat

The outlook for the global economy is increasingly threatened by inward-looking policies, including protectionism, and stalled reforms, according to the communique of the 34th meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee which took place in Washington this week.

IMF: 34th IMFC Communique

Treasury:  IMFC Statement

Reversing globalisation backward step for world’s economy

The slowdown in world trade and what it means for the long-term health of the global economy is the focus of this article in The Times. While globalisation has been the major driver of rising living standards around the world, part of the current trade slowdown is explained by a reduction in the pace of trade liberalisation and rising protectionism.

The Times: Article (Paywall)

US economic policy: The way ahead

President Obama sets out four areas of unfinished business in economic policy his successor will have to tackle. He argues that lifting poverty and wages depends on creating a global race to the top in rules for trade. While some communities have suffered from foreign competition, trade has helped the US economy much more than it has hurt it. He points out that American firms that export pay their workers up to 18% more on average than companies that do not.

The Economist: Article

Did you know?

The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement is Australia’s second oldest FTA. Singapore is Australia’s fifth largest trading partner. In 2015, services made over one third ($11b) of our total exports to Singapore.

Upcoming Trade Events

Ai Group: North Asia FTA Training Session for SMEs

Sydney, Albury, Newcastle, Melbourne, Bendigo, Brisbane, Adelaide

Session 1, Friday 14 October 2016; Session 2 Monday 24 October 2016

These live seminars will help SMEs understand how different elements of an FTA can help support business objectives. Two sessions will be run at various locations around the country: Session 1 on Market Selection on Friday 14 October and Session 2 on Using FTAs and the successful movement of goods on Monday 24 October.


Joint event: ACBC Qld Alibaba Group: An e-Commerce Ecosystem

Brisbane QLD, 19 October 2016

This joint event will take place in central Brisbane in the morning of 19 October 2016.  This event is targeted towards Queensland exporters interested in e-commerce and the tourism industry working with Chinese in-bound tourists.


University of Sydney Public Lecture: Grassroots Entrepreneurship in China

Sydney NSW, 20 October 2016

This University of Sydney Business School free public lecture titled The Cyberspace Inclusion Unleashes Grassroots Entrepreneurship in Chinalooks at China’s growth and how this relates to technological progress, grassroots entrepreneurship and the economic ecosystem in the 21st Century.


North Asia Free Trade Agreement Information Seminar

South Yarra VIC, 2 November

Find out about how you can take advantage of the North Asia Free Trade Agreements with China-Australia, Korea-Australia and Japan-Australia. This interactive session will give you an opportunity to hear directly on the practical benefits that you may be able to realise from the Free Trade Agreements.


Tourism Australia: Industry Briefings

Sydney NSW, 15 November 2016

Tourism Australia will host a free of charge industry briefing this month in Sydney. The briefing will be led by TA’s senior executives and cover current and future activity as well as the latest insights from key international markets.


ChAFTA export success – Bendigo Workshop

Bendigo VIC, 18 November 2016

This day-long training program will focus on the technical aspects of ChAFTA such as classifying goods for export, how goods are treated under ChAFTA; understanding Rules of Origin, certifying goods using Certificates of Origin and where to find other helpful resources, including the ECA’s FTA Tool and DFAT’s FTA Portal.


DFAT: ChAFTA guide

DFAT: FTA Portal

Last Updated: 13 October 2016