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Further strengthening Australia-US trade relations

Welcome to a new edition of business envoy.

This edition focuses on the United States.

The United States represents one of Australia's most important economic relationships and one that continues to grow.

It is the world's largest economy, an innovation superpower and our largest investment partner.

The US market presents Australian businesses with boundless opportunities. It has one of the world's most liberal foreign investment regimes with Australian companies looking to invest in the United States facing few barriers.

Similarly, barriers to the entry of Australian goods and services into the US market are relatively few.

The Turnbull Government is seeking to grow our trade and investment relationship with this important economic partner through a range of initiatives.

The complementary Australia US Business Week and G'Day USA programs highlight our credentials as an innovative and advanced economic partner.

We have expanded our support for Australian business on the ground by opening a Consulate-General in Houston in 2015 and recently establishing a new investment promotion office in Boston.

In January this year, I met with US Trade Representative Michael Froman and other US political leaders to discuss how we can further strengthen our trade and investment relationship, including by seizing some of the commercial opportunities outlined in this edition.

One of the key topics of conversation was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest regional trade deal negotiated in more than 20 years.

It is an historic agreement that will further integrate Australia into the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.

The TPP will create new market access opportunities for Australian exporters and new investment opportunities, driving Australian jobs and economic growth.

It will establish a more seamless trade and investment environment across 12 countries and address contemporary trade challenges.

Globally, it has been a tumultuous few months since the last edition of business envoy in May.

The outcome of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom has seen investors react with caution as they consider the potential impacts of a UK withdrawal from the European Union.

In the coming weeks, a special edition of business envoy will focus on what Brexit means for Australian business and our trading relationship with both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Turnbull Government is committed to open markets and promoting global trade. Our history has shown us that opening Australia to global markets overwhelmingly benefits Australia as a whole.

Australia's trade and investment policies have played an important role in sustaining the country's 25 years of uninterrupted growth.

Today, trade in goods and services is equivalent to more than 40 per cent of Australia's GDP and one in five Australian jobs is tied to trade.

As the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, I will actively seek to explain and advocate the benefits of open markets, which have helped grow our national prosperity, contributed to our economic growth and created new Australian jobs.

I encourage you to join me.

World Bank analysis found countries that liberalised their trade regimes experienced average annual growth rates that were around 1.5 percentage points higher than before liberalisation.

Increasing trade and investment is at the heart of the Turnbull Government's plan to create jobs and support economic growth.

The Turnbull Government will pursue an ambitious trade agenda to grow our exports, attract new investment and increase visitor numbers – ultimately creating more jobs.

We will take further steps toward implementation and ratification of the TPP.

We will work to conclude trade agreements with Indonesia, India, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Pacific Island countries through the PACER Plus agreement. We will continue our work towards launching free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union and seek to open negotiations with the United Kingdom at the right time. We will explore the feasibility of trade negotiations with Colombia and pursue new opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region.

We will also work to revitalise global trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation with a new agenda focused on achievable outcomes. Finalising the Environmental Goods Agreement and Trade in Services Agreement by the end of 2016 would be a good start. Completing Australia's accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement will lock-in access to major government procurement markets.

I look forward to continuing to work with Australian businesses to help them reach their full potential, at home and overseas.

I wish you success on your business travels, exploring and capitalising on new trade and investment opportunities.


Last Updated: 25 August 2016
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