To Prime Minister Abe, Premier Mike Baird, Sir Rod Eddington the president of Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and to Dr Mimura-san, President of the Japan-Australia Business Cooperation Committee, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.  

It's a great pleasure for me as Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister to have the opportunity this morning to make some welcoming remarks. Those of you seated around the table represent in a physical sense the strength of the trade and investment relationship between Japan and Australia.  

It's a relationship that started in 1957 with the formal Commencement and it’s one that’s now been going for more than six decades. In many respects tomorrow, the most recent iteration of this relationship which was of course the comprehensive Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement celebrates its second anniversary.

This Agreement, an Agreement which really brings to the table the common values, the common heritage that we have in terms of trade as well as our common aspirations for a prosperous future for our people, built upon open access to markets, a belief that trade drives economic growth, an understanding that in order to ensure that in our region we can overcome together the challenges we face, we do this through the people-to-people links that trade and investment drives.

Can I also say, coming from the Gold Coast and being in this city of Sydney, I know that both places are particularly fond, I should say Japanese are very fond of both places. Australia and Japan share so many things. Whether it's Australian tourists going to enjoy the ski fields in Sapporo or whether it's Japanese coming to enjoy the great shopping in Sydney or the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast.  

The fact is our peoples love each other's countries and share our common approach that we have to enjoyment of life and to mutual benefit through trade. Can I conclude by remarking on this fact: We will have opportunities in the future to continue to grow our relationship.  

I want to congratulate Prime Minster Abe for his strong global leadership with respect to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia very firmly believes that the TPP holds significant benefits for all 12 countries that have signed up to it. It is our earnest hope that we will continue to see the ratification of the TPP by all 12 countries.  

In the interim we will work towards being strong advocates of the myriad of advantages that flow and will understand that through the TPP we can overcome those mutual challenges that we face and we can ensure that each of us in a time of significant economic tumult are able to embrace the tremendous opportunities in trade and investment and ensure that we underpin the economic success and growth of our countries in the years ahead. You today can make sure we also continue to build on that.

Thank you.

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