The Turnbull Government continues to pursue an ambitious trade agenda to create jobs and drive economic growth. Removing trade barriers lays the groundwork for our transitioning economy.
Australians will see key benefits from greater access to overseas markets and more af fordable prices for household items.
The Government’s key trade achievements in 2015-16 include:
- The entry into force of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) in December 2015, which facilitates our access to China’s increasingly wealthy consumer base;
- The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement in February 2016, the most significant trade and investment agreement finalised in more than two decades with member countries accounting for around 40 per cent of global GDP;
- Agreement between the 163 members of the WTO in December 2015 to eliminate more than $15 billion of agricultural export subsidy entitlements, which for decades have threatened the livelihoods of Australian farmers;
- The decision to relaunch FTA negotiations with Indonesia in March 2016, a significant milestone towards realising the huge opportunities that sit on our doorstep; and
- The EU’s agreement in 2015 to commence work towards the launch of FTA negotiations - an important market for Australia accounting for more than 12 per cent of our total trade.
These achievements will boost opportunities for Australian exports, enhance market access for the Australian services sector, cut costs for Australian businesses and consumers and open up greater investment opportunities.
The Government has created an innovative FTA portal to help businesses take full advantage of the landmark free trade agreements (FTAs) the Coalition concluded with China, Japan and Korea. The portal provides comprehensive tariff information and product specific Australian and international trade data to help businesses assess how their products meet the requirements of the FTAs.
The Turnbull Government will invest $1.8 million to expand the portal to all FTAs and Austrade will boost the popular Open for Business website.
Labor had six years to conclude trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan but did nothing. Australian exporters lost market share in these countries as our competitors concluded trade deals and Labor sat on its hands.
Developing Australia’s tourism industry will further drive jobs and economic growth. The sector enjoyed record international visitor numbers in 2015 and the highest-ever growth in international visitor expenditure, with visitors spending a record $36.6 billion.
Through the Tourism 2020 strategy, the Turnbull Government will ensure Australia’s tourism potential is fully realised. Our priority areas are building tourism infrastructure, visa reform, increasing international aviation capacity, promoting Australia internationally as a first choice destination, and attracting vital new investment.
Unlike Labor the Government recognises that tourism is a critical part of Australia’s modern 21st century economy.
The Government froze the Passenger Movement Charge, a tax that increased 45 per cent under Labor, and abolished the carbon tax, which cost the tourism sector more than $115 million in its first year.
Labor also cut funding to Tourism Australia, whereas the Government delivered an extra $36.7 million over four years.
It was a Coalition Government that created Tourism Australia and we remain committed to properly funding our international marketing agency. This Budget delivers a record investment of $629.4 million over four years which is in stark contrast to Labor who cut funding to Tourism Australia when last in government.
In support of Australia’s transitioning economy, Austrade will fund five overseas Landing Pads to connect Australian entrepreneurs to global innovation hubs and promote the commercialisation of Australian ideas.
The 2016-17 Budget builds on the Coalition’s earlier initiatives to enhance investment, promote free trade, and grow tourism that included:
- $30 million to Austrade for global investment teams in the major target markets of North America and North Asia. Five private sector investment specialists have already been hired to improve Austrade’s capacity to promote, attract and facilitate investment in priority sectors;
- $18 million to expand Australia Week trade and promotional events in China, India, US and ASEAN, promoting Australia as a world class tourism and education destination and a valued trade and investment partner;
- Rolling out a $43 million Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure Program to improve the quality of regional tourism infrastructure to attract more visitors;
- Negotiating revised air services arrangements with China that will see a tripling of gateway capacity between Australia and China by the end of 2016, increasing links with Australia’s largest source of international students and biggest spending tourism market;
- Three-year (and a pilot of ten-year) multiple-entry visas for approved tourist and business applicants from China and Indonesia;
- A trial of online lodgement for visitor visas in China, India and Indonesia, with full roll out by end of 2016 in China, and 2017 in Indonesia and India.
- Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555