SENATOR THE HON SIMON BIRMINGHAM
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
8 September 2019
Advancing regional trade and investment opportunities
Following the recording of record export and trade data for Australia last week, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham will represent Australia at ASEAN-related trade negotiations in Bangkok today and tomorrow.
Minister Birmingham said the talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN Economic Ministers-Closer Economic Relations consultations were an opportunity to continue to advance Australia’s ambitious trade agenda.
“At a time of increasing global trade tensions, Australia is determined to work with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen our trade relationships and provide new export opportunities Australian businesses,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Australia’s export performance is riding high at present but in a competitive world we must continually seek out the next opportunities, which is what I’ll be doing for our farmers and businesses during these negotiations in Bangkok.
“With negotiations to conclude RCEP entering the final phase, we have a real opportunity to move towards a deal that will build new trade and investment links across our region.
“RCEP has the potential to simplify the regional trade and investment environment, better integrate Australian businesses into regional supply chains and improve market access for Australian exporters.
“It will also further strengthen Australia’s relationship with ASEAN at a crucial point in ASEAN’s economic development, whilst at the same time bringing India and China further into our regional trade architecture.”
“Reflecting our Government’s commitment to trade outcomes that grow exports and create more jobs, trade agreements such as RCEP, are a vital part of our plan to ensure that around 90 per cent of Australia’s trade is covered by free trade agreements by 2022.”
RCEP countries account for 10 of Australia’s top 15 trading partners, 61 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade and almost a third of global GDP. No other active trade negotiation brings together parties with the collective economic weight of the ASEANs, China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.