Trade Talk 22 March 2019

Launch of Trade Through Time website

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, launched DFAT’s new Trade Through Time website as part of an Asia Education Foundation Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum at Glenunga International High School on 14 March. Trade through Time is an educational tool designed to teach students about the role and significance global trade plays in driving Australia’s economy. Students can use the website to explore significant events that have shaped Australia’s trading history.

Media Release

Advancing Australia’s blockchain industry

The Australian Government has announced $100,000 funding for the development of a national blockchain roadmap to help position Australia as a global industry leader. The roadmap will focus on regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, international competitiveness and collaboration, and will incorporate the expertise of blockchain experts from industry and academia as well as CSIRO’s Data61. Minister Birmingham said the roadmap would help Australian companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors.

Media Release

Address to the Lowy Institute

Connectivity is opening up new markets to both Australian businesses and regional entrepreneurs that were previously constrained by the tyranny of distance or reliance on paper-based transactional commerce Foreign Minister Marise Payne explained in a speech on the importance of a free, open and secure internet. The Minister noted that Australia is leading international discussions in the WTO to make sure the rules guiding international digital trade are ‘fit for purpose’ in the 21st Century. Research estimates that Australia's digital exports could more than double by 2030, enabling almost $200 billion of economic value in our domestic economy.


RCEP’s seventh intersessional ministerial meeting

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton represented Australia at the Seventh Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 2 March 2019. Ministers commended the progress of the negotiations and agreed to intensify engagement this year in line with the determination of RCEP Leaders in November 2018 to conclude RCEP in 2019.


Prospects for global trade – Australia’s perspective

In a speech to the ABARES Conference in early March DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson discussed the increasingly complex and contested nature of trade policy and called on government and business to work together to pool expertise and ‘stay ahead of the game’. The Secretary added that Australia's diplomacy was most effective when government and businesses partner together to support our international economic and commercial interests and invited businesses to share their ideas about how we can best prosecute Australia's interests internationally.


Australia now ASEAN 2019

The Australian Government has launched its flagship public diplomacy program for 2019, Australia now, celebrating and engaging youth across the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and showcasing Australian innovation and creativity across Southeast Asia to promote Australia’s relations – including trade – in the region. This year's Australia now program is focused on ensuring Australia remains a leading economic, development and strategic partner for Southeast Asia.

Australia now

Is your business Brexit-ready?

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March. A ‘no deal’ Brexit, in which the UK exits the EU without an agreed Withdrawal Agreement, could have significant implications for Australian businesses operating in, and exporting to, the UK. DFAT and Austrade have released information for Australian businesses and travellers to the UK, including potential issues for consideration in the case of ‘no deal’.

Is your business ready to expand into Asia?

Asialink Business, sponsored by Commonwealth Bank, has developed a free online tool to enable businesses to self-assess their preparedness to enter Asian markets and access a customised list of helpful and practical resources. Take the short quiz today to deepen your understanding of the skills needed to expand your business in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia.


Why the new Indonesia free trade agreement is so important

A recently signed free trade agreement between Australia and its neighbour, Indonesia, is set to drastically transform the two countries’ relationship and unlock countless new consumer and trade opportunities, HSBC Australia Chief Executive Officer, Martin Tricaud, argues in this article for the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.


Chinese travelers and their potential for regional Australia

A new report by Tourism Research Australia assesses the barriers to visitor dispersal into Australia’s regions and identifies areas for possible action against the backdrop of the recent increases in Chinese visitation rates.


China’s growing Latin American ties also matter for Australia

This article by Erin Watson-Lynn argues that Australia could become the bridge between China and Latin America. She says that while our similar industries and export trade markets make us seem like competitors, there is more to gain in the future world order by strengthening the relationship with Latin America.

Perth USAsia Centre

Gender and trade spotlighted at UN Commission

On 13 March UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant highlighted the different ways trade policies can affect men and women at an event with the newly-formed Gender and Trade Coalition in New York. Ms Durant emphasised the need to assess the potential gender impacts of trade agreements before negotiations conclude, adding that UNCTAD’s Trade and Gender Toolbox provides a methodology for this.


Eight reasons for optimism about the future of the multilateral trading system

WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff listed eight reasons for optimism about the future of the multilateral trading system in a speech to the Harvard Law School in mid-March. These were: that most trade is undertaken in accordance with the WTO commitments; that world trade is still growing; that no WTO members have left; that the WTO’s work continues to accelerate; that the dominant theme is to strengthen, not weaken the WTO; the fact that members are trying to find a solution to the dispute settlement system impasse; that conflict-affected countries see the WTO as a chance for peace and growth; and finally that countries value the certainty of trade rules.


Did You Know?

Digital services, currently worth $6 billion, are Australia's fourth largest export sector.

Upcoming Events

Free Trade Agreements Information Seminar

North Brisbane, QLD, 26 March; Healesville, VIC, 27 March; Mornington, VIC, 28 March 2019

This seminar is an interactive session where you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from government and industry experts on the practical benefits of exporting and how to take advantage of Australia’s FTAs, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.


UNCTAD: eCommerce Week

1-5 April, Geneva, Switzerland

Registration is open for UNCTAD’s eCommerce week, the leading forum to discuss the development opportunities and challenges associated with the evolving digital economy. This year’s forum will focus on the theme ‘From Digitization to Development’, emphasising the need to break down silos among institutions, government and policy areas for e-commerce to make an effective contribution to sustainable development.

More information

WTO 2019 Public Forum: Trading Forward: Adapting to a Changing World

8-11 October, Geneva Switzerland

The WTO’s 2019 Public Forum, to be held on 8-11 October, will consider how trade and the trading system can adapt to a changing world. The forum will include a particular focus on the future of services trade; the perspectives of Millennials and Gen Z (who will represent over half the world's population by 2020); and it will look at how the WTO itself will need to change and adapt to meet the challenges ahead. 

More information

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Last Updated: 26 March 2019