Trade Talk, 23 March 2017

Amendments to the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement tabled

“As the make-up of our economy and the needs of business change, so too must the rules that govern our international trade,” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said in his speech tabling amendments to SAFTA and the accompanying National Interest Analysis in Parliament this week. The updated SAFTA will provide new access for Australian service providers and recognition of additional qualifications in law, medicine and allied health from a number of Australian universities. Businesses will have new opportunities to bid for high-value government procurement contracts and business people will have improved mobility and lengths of stay. It will also include modern outcomes on telecommunications services and e-commerce, and harmonise trade rules in goods, services and investment, thereby reducing red tape for businesses.

Speech to Parliament

Release of Trade in Services Australia 2015-16

DFAT’s Trade in Services Australia 2015-16 released this week shows services exports grew 9 per cent to $68.3b in 2015-16. “Services exports are critical to Australia’s future economic prosperity, especially as several of our major trading partners shift from investment-led growth to consumption-based economies,” Minister Ciobo said.

Trade in services

Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister Ciobo underlined APEC’s vital role in facilitating economic growth and regional prosperity when announcing the appointment of Australia’s next Ambassador for APEC, Simon Newnham, this week. The Ambassador will progress our APEC agenda, including deepening services trade liberalisation, advancing negotiations towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and promoting women’s economic empowerment.

APEC Ambassador

IMF calls for strong policies to sustain growth

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised the G20 as a critical platform for major economies to cooperate following last week’s G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting. “Strong monetary, fiscal and structural policies matter more than ever for what comes next. Global cooperation and pursuing the right policies can help achieve strong, sustained, balanced, and inclusive growth, while the wrong ones could stop the new momentum in its tracks,” she said in a statement.

IMF media release

Article 50 to be triggered on Wednesday

The United Kingdom Government has announced its intention to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty next Wednesday. “The Government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the European Union,” Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said of the announcement earlier this week.

Media release

Did You Know?

The US was Australia’s largest two-way services trading partner in 2015-16, accounting for 15.8 per cent or $23b of total services trade. Our second largest was China at 9.1 per cent ($13b), followed by the UK at 8.4 per cent ($12b).

Upcoming Trade Events

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.


International economic cooperation in the post-Trump-post-Brexit-era

Canberra, ACT, 29 March

At this Crawford School of Public Policy Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis lecture Oxford Professor David Vines will discuss Brexit, how the effects of protectionist policies in the US might be countered, and what kind of global leadership China might provide.


Global Trade and Trends

Adelaide, SA, 30 March

Committee for Economic Development of Australia, with the support of DFAT, will host Australian diplomats from around the globe, to provide their insight, understanding and counsel on how their host countries are reacting to this unprecedented period of global change, and what challenges and opportunities these are presenting for Australia.


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.


Free Trade Agreements Information Seminar

Wangaratta, VIC, 11 April; Albury, NSW, 12 April

Find out how you can take advantage of Australia's FTAs with China, Japan and Korea at these interactive seminars involving an address by Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Keith Pitt.

Last Updated: 24 March 2017