Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb will this week participate in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Robb said the WEF presented a significant opportunity to promote Australia’s interests at a premier forum for the world’s leading CEOs from top 1000 companies as well as political leaders. 

“One of the focuses of discussions will be what innovative approaches we can further pursue to remove restrictions to the freer flow of trade, commerce and investment,” he said.

Mr Robb will also attend a Swiss-hosted meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to continue exploring ways of revitalising multilateral trade following the recent WTO conference in Nairobi where agreement was reached on removing agricultural subsidies, which represents a major win for Australian farmers. 

“There’s certainly merit in looking at new and innovative approaches to global trade liberalization and reform that have the prospect of delivering real outcomes in time frames that are meaningful to business,” he said.

Mr Robb will also visit Zurich where a new Austrade office has recently been established which is being headed by Mr Nicolas Bentel. Mr Bentel joins Austrade from UBS AG in Zurich, where he was most recently Head Investment Specialist for the Latin America team.

“Europe, including Switzerland, continues to be a vital source of trade and investment for Australia; the Zurich office will help build on our existing bilateral relationship by providing practical support and advice on opportunities that will enhance the prosperity of both countries,” Mr Robb said.

“Switzerland is an important investment partner for Australia with total two-way investment worth $96 billion. There are significant opportunities to build on this relationship across a range of sectors including in science and innovation, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and infrastructure,” Mr Robb said.

After concluding a trifecta of free trade deals with Korea, Japan and China the government is also committed to working towards the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). Mr Robb will meet with EU Commissioner for Trade Dr Cecilia Malmstrom during his visit to discuss the prospect of an ambitious bilateral deal. 

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