Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has officially launched the government’s Free Trade Agreement national seminar series, which he said is designed to increase awareness within the business community of the FTAs with Japan, Korea and China.

Mr Robb was in Queanbeyan today, hosting what he explained will be one of many seminars to roll-out around the country, to ensure both existing and potential export businesses – large and small – understand the opportunities created by the agreements with Asia.

“Reaching out to business and helping make our FTAs accessible is something governments over the years, haven’t always done as well as they could have,” Mr Robb said.

“These agreements with our first, second and fourth largest trading partners, offer too much promise to risk low utilisation rates. That’s why the government has created the seminars to ensure businesses understand the agreements and are fully aware of the potential benefits they present.”

Mr Robb said trade specialists will be on hand at the seminars to offer targeted advice and assistance on how to identify avenues for trade, and navigate the export market.

“The seminars are designed to equip people with the information needed to leverage the opportunities created by the FTAs. It’s also an ideal networking event for businesspeople, who are often time-poor given the demands of running a business,” Mr Robb said.

“It’s with these time constraints in mind that the government is also developing an online dashboard-portal – including a comprehensive tariff finder – which will be a fast and efficient tool for business to use in order to make well informed decisions about trading internationally.”

Mr Robb said the agreements delivered by the Abbott Government with Japan, Korea and China form a powerful trifecta which will provide preferential access to a market of over 1.5 billion people.

“These agreements put our home-grown businesses in the driver’s seat in these lucrative Asian markets, creating endless opportunity in a variety of sectors, from manufacturing and food production to our world-renowned services sector,” Mr Robb said.

Speaking at the seminar, Andrew Wales, Executive Officer of Australia’s Oyster Coast, said the FTAs have presented a whole new world of opportunity for the seafood industry.

“We began exploring offshore markets for our organisation last year. The Free Trade Agreements with Asia have certainly given us that extra incentive to ramp-up our international strategy in that part of the world, given all three agreements provide significant tariff cuts for our product,” Mr Wales said.

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