Australia is jointly leading negotiations in Geneva on a Trade in Services Agreement. The agreement is between a subset of WTO Members, currently including 23 parties which collectively account for around two-thirds of global services trade. Australia is also seeking to expand market access for our services exports through free trade agreements. Australia continues to look for ways to broaden existing liberalisation efforts and build on those efforts in a multilateral setting.
In particular, Australia is aiming to reduce foreign equity limitations on overseas investments, reduce requirements for services to be supplied through a commercial presence or specific forms of legal entity or joint venture, limit restrictions on international transfers and payments, improve regulatory transparency, and make it easier for business people to pursue opportunities in foreign markets through improved business mobility.
Priority sectors include financial services, legal and professional services, education, telecommunications, mining-related services and environmental services.
Australia is also active in promoting regulatory reform and services market access through APEC. In 2012, Australia led efforts to facilitate services trade through the APEC Accounting Services Initiative. Australia also sponsored the APEC Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database. This business-friendly online resource has become a vital tool for services exporters in Australia and across the APEC region.
Australia's services exports