As the Turnbull Coalition Government works towards launching Free Trade Agreement (FTA)  negotiations with the European Union (EU) I will visit Hungary, France and Switzerland to meet my counterparts and business leaders.

In Budapest I will meet members of the dynamic group of European countries known as the Visegrád Group (V4) to explore opportunities to strengthen our economic and trade relationship through an Australia-EU FTA. Comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the V4 has a combined GDP of more than $1 trillion, steady economic growth and a pro-trade outlook similar to Australia’s.

In Paris I will meet Members of the French National Assembly and French business leaders to advocate for an Australia-EU FTA.

The EU, as a bloc, is one of Australia’s most important trading partners with total two-way trade in goods and services worth $99.5 billion. The EU is also Australia’s largest sources of foreign investment, with a total stock worth more than a trillion dollars in 2016.

An Australia-EU FTA will create new opportunities for Australian businesses; driving exports, economic growth and job creation. Launching negotiations will also send an important message to the world at a time of rising protectionism.

In Davos, I will meet EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to progress the Australia-EU FTA. I will also meet my counterparts and join them for a meeting of World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministers in which I will advance the Australian-led e-commerce initiative.

The WEF presents a significant opportunity to promote Australia as an attractive investment destination. I will meet global business leaders to highlight the investment opportunities Australia offers, particularly in tourism, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing.

I am also visiting the United Arab Emirates to drive investment into Australia and explore new trade opportunities, particularly in agriculture and education. The UAE is our largest trade and investment partner in the Middle East with two-way trade in goods and services between Australia and the UAE valued at approximately $8 billion.

Media enquiries

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