Trade Talk, 16 March 2017

Pacific Alliance High Level Dialogue

This week Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo participated in the Pacific Alliance High Level Dialogue in Chile and explored options to deepen our trade and investment relationship with Latin America. The Dialogue brought together Pacific Alliance countries of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement countries, China and South Korea.

Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting, Australia-UK FTA and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo participated in the first ever Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting in London last week. Talks between Trade Ministers centered on expanding trade and economic links within the Commonwealth and building on the 52 member states’ US$685 billion worth of annual trade. Minister Ciobo also met bilaterally with UK Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox to work towards an ambitious Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. While in London, Minister Ciobo also attended a number of events related to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, including the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Visit to London

Australian exporters confident about future trade opportunities

Small and medium exporters are confident about future trade growth and expect their exports to increase, Minister Ciobo said referring to the results of EFIC’s Exporter Sentiment Index released last week. The Index, which surveyed more than 1200 Australian exporters, indicates more than half expect their overseas sales to increase in the next 12 months. Two in five respondents also expect to increase their staff over the same period.

Exporter Sentiment Index

Unprecedented visitor spending in 2016

The 2016 International Visitor Survey shows spending by international visitors reached an unprecedented $39.1 billion last year, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said yesterday. Spending by international visitors to Australia has now grown by more than 35 per cent in the last three years.

International Visitor Survey

Landing Pad launched in Singapore

This week the Australian Government launched a fifth Landing Pad in Singapore as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The initiative assists Australian startups in cutting edge industries, including services, to build new export market opportunities. With more than 3500 multinational companies headquartered in Singapore, the Landing Pad will give Australian entrepreneurs access to a network of contacts and opportunities, including a gateway to more than 600 million consumers across Southeast Asia.

Singapore Landing Pad

New Embassy in Colombia

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced last week that the Australian Government will open a new Embassy in Colombia. Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America and enjoys the highest growth rate of the major economies in the region.

Colombia Embassy

Joint Statement by TPP Partners

A joint statement adopted by Australia and 10 other countries reiterated their firm commitment to collaborate in keeping markets open and to the free flow of goods, services and investment, as well as advancing regional economic integration and strengthening the rules-based international trading system. These countries canvassed views on a way forward that would advance economic integration in the Asia-Pacific. Further discussions will occur in the margins of the APEC meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade on 20-21 May 2017.

Joint Statement

Updating the Australian economic story

This Austrade blog assesses the current state of the Australian economy based on several recent substantial data releases. Author Mark Thirlwell addresses topics such as the changing direction and composition of exports, trends in mining and non-mining investment and Australian foreign direct investment.

Austrade blog

Foreign Investment Consultation

The Treasury is seeking formal views from stakeholders on a suite of proposed changes in the areas of residential land, non-vacant commercial land, low sensitivity business investment and fees. The final legislative package and the approach to its implementation will be determined by the Government following this consultation. The closing date for submissions is 29 March 2017.

Treasury Consultation Paper

NZ and EU move closer to FTA

The EU and New Zealand have completed a joint scoping paper and preliminary discussions towards an EU-NZ free trade agreement (FTA).  The European Commission and New Zealand will now seek respective mandates to commence FTA negotiations.  Details of the confidential scoping paper, including on the sensitive issues of agricultural market access and geographical indications, have been reported in the publication Agra Facts.  Australia and the EU are expected to conclude a similar joint FTA scoping exercise shortly.


United States Senate Committee consideration of USTR nomination

A US Senate Committee on Finance hearing, held hearing on 14 March in Washington DC, considered the nomination of Robert Lighthizer for key the Administration position of United States Trade Representative. Mr Lighthizer's testimony emphasised President Trump's views on an America first trade policy, negotiating trade agreements and stronger enforcement of trade laws.

Did You Know?

At $336 million, education-related travel was our largest export to Colombia in 2015-16. Coffee and coffee substitutes were our largest import from Colombia, valued at $47 million in the same year.

Upcoming Trade Events

Business SA: Understand and Utilise FTAs

Port Lincoln, SA, 22 March

Business SA’s FTA training sessions are developed and delivered by industry experts with extensive exporting experience in China, Japan and Korea and are targeted towards SMEs, export managers, international sales and marketing specialists and logistics and procurement specialists. The sessions will cover the essential elements of FTAs, including tariff classifications and preferential tariff schedules, rules of origin and certificates of origin.


North Asia FTA Training Sessions - ChAFTA

McLaren Vale, SA, 27 March

With the help of a Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grant, the Australia China Business Council is conducting a ChAFTA Training Program to train businesses on how to utilise ChAFTA and reap the benefits of a deeper engagement with China. 

WA North Asia Free Trade Agreement Access Workshop

Broome, WA, 27 March

This workshop is being held with the help of a Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grant and the support of Regional Development Australia and the Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Workshop will cover how to grow sales to China, Japan and Korea and the benefits of Australia’s free trade agreements with these countries.


Efic SME Briefing

Sydney, NSW, 29 March

This Efic briefing for SME exporters will involve a leading Australian company talking about the impact of exporting on their business growth and a panel discussion will focus on how exporting can help businesses succeed and grow.


Free Trade Agreements Information Seminar

Brisbane, QLD, 3 April

Find out how you can take advantage of Australia's FTAs with China, Japan and Korea at these interactive seminars involving a keynote speech by Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo.


Last Updated: 17 March 2017