Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon. Andrew Robb MP, has been named “Policy Maker of the Year” at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong.

Public Affairs Asia, the region’s network for government, corporate and public affairs practitioners, awarded Mr Robb for his achievements in promoting trade liberalisation by sealing key bilateral free trade agreements between Australia and North Asia’s three biggest economies: China, Japan and South Korea.

The Gold Standard Award also recognised Mr Robb as being one of the key leaders in the negotiations to the conclude the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) after seven years of talks. The TPP is a trade pact between twelve Pacific Rim countries which, Minister Robb said, “has truly transformational promise” in international trade.

Also nominated for the award was Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore.

Speaking via video, Minister Robb said it was “…both humbling and a very great honour to be recognised by Public Affairs Asia with The Gold Standard Award for Policy Maker of the Year”.

“The Japan and Korea agreements already are delivering strong benefits and the China free trade agreement will come into force before the end of the year,” Mr Robb said about the three markets which account for 52 per cent of Australia’s global exports.

Mr Robb added “Freer trade and more investment is a critical driver of growth and jobs and prosperity,” factors which he said explained the Australian Government’s motivation in pursuing such comprehensive agreements.

When fully implemented, 97 per cent of Australia’s exports will receive preferential or duty free access to these partner countries.

The award was accepted by Australian Consul-General, Mr Paul Tighe, at a presentation held on Thursday, 3 December 2015, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong.

Mr Tighe said the award recognised Mr Robb and the Australian Government’s commitment to open markets and free trade in the Asia Pacific region.

“It also acknowledges the significant effort that Minister Robb and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have made to engage all the stakeholders in these important trade agreements,” Mr Tighe said.

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