Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson leaves for Latin America today for a series of events and meetings aimed at strengthening trade, business and economic ties with the region.
The 10-day trip will take in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico – where Dr Emerson will take part in the G20 Trade Ministers' Meeting – and coincides with a visit by a high-level Australian business delegation.
"This visit will provide an opportunity to build on our relationships with various Latin American countries, and to enhance trade opportunities for Australian companies throughout the region," Dr Emerson said.
In Chile, Dr Emerson will attend Expomin, among the world's most important mining trade fairs, in the capital Santiago.
Australian companies will be there in force, demonstrating the cutting-edge technology and services in the mining industry which make up a growing part of Australia's involvement in resources in Latin America.
Dr Emerson will also visit Brazil's commercial and financial hub, São Paulo, accompanied by the trade delegation. He will then fly to Brasilia, the administrative capital, for ministerial talks.
Reflecting the growing importance of Colombia, Dr Emerson and members of the business delegation will also visit Bogotá, where Austrade, the Australian Trade Commission, will manage a new Consulate-General from later this year.
"Australia and Latin America have much to gain from working together on economic reform, mining regulation and vocational education and training," Dr Emerson said.
Dr Emerson will wind up the trip at G20 Trade Ministers' Meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from 18 to 20 April.
Dr Emerson's discussions with G20 Trade Ministers and invited guests will focus on trade as a source of growth and jobs, and the importance of resisting protectionism.
"This meeting comes as the global economic recovery struggles to take hold," Dr Emerson said.
"Our focus in the G20 is on policies that promote economic growth and create more and better jobs. Trade is essential to these goals."
Dr Emerson will hold bilateral meetings with counterparts including European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy, Korean Trade Minister Bark Tae-ho and Deputy US Trade Representative Michael Punke.
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