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Ciobo vows to pursue new free trade deals

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It’s business as usual for Australian exporters with news of the reappointment of Steven Ciobo as Trade Minister.

Mr Ciobo retained the Trade and Investment portfolio – and was also appointed Minister for Tourism – following the re-election of the Turnbull Government.

It is the first time the tourism portfolio has been handed to an Inner Cabinet minister, which should give it a stronger voice than ever before.

After being sworn in to the new Cabinet Mr Ciobo issued a statement saying the government will pursue an ambitious trade agenda to grow our exports, attract new investment and increase visitor numbers.

“We will continue our work towards launching free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union and seek to open negotiations with the United Kingdom at the right time,” Mr Ciobo said.

“We will explore the feasibility of trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico and Colombia.

New opportunities

“We will continue to pursue trade agreements with Indonesia, India, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries, and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as the Pacific Island countries through the PACER Plus agreement.

“We will also pursue new opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Mr Ciobo said the Government would make it easier for Australian farmers and manufacturers to export by establishing a “single window” for export documentation.

And it will establish a support unit that helps services exporters address regulatory barriers to services trade.

“We will expand our efforts to help Australian businesses capitalise on the opportunities our trade agreements create through Trade Seminars and the award-winning FTA Portal.”

Competitive advantage

Mr Ciobo said the Government would further improve Australia’s competitive advantage in tourism, building on its achievements of the past three years.

“We will seek to capture a greater share of the Chinese market, including by designating 2017 as the Australia-China Year of Tourism,” he said.

Australia’s trade and investment performance has contributed significantly to the country’s remarkable record of 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth and will continue to do so. 

“Today, trade in goods and services is equivalent to more than 40 per cent of Australia’s GDP and one in five Australian jobs is trade-related.”

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