FTAs major focus of Robb's North Asia visit

Media release

14 November 2013

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will visit South Korea, Japan and China from 14 to 22 November to restart negotiations with his key counterparts on the stalled Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia's three most significant trading partners.

"Free trade negotiations with our three biggest export partners floundered under the previous government. Labor's failure to conclude any of these agreements in six years was a major lost opportunity," Mr Robb said.

"We are determined to make up lost ground and conclude these agreements as soon as reasonably possible."

In South Korea, Mr Robb will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategy and Finance, Dr Hyun Oh-seok, and Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Mr Yoon Sang-jick.

"South Korea is a key strategic partner in Asia and our third-largest export market. We see great scope to expand our trade and investment relationship," Mr Robb said.

"Concluding an FTA with Korea will help maintain the competitiveness of Australian exports and provide new opportunities for business."

In Japan, Mr Robb will meet with senior Japanese Ministers with trade responsibilities, including Foreign Minister Kishida, Trade and Economy Minister Motegi, Economic Revitalisation Minister Amari and Agriculture Minister Hayashi to discuss opportunities to enhance our deep and longstanding trade and investment partnership.

"Japan is Australia's closest partner in Asia and second-largest trading partner," Mr Robb said. "I am confident we can address the remaining obstacles to conclusion of the Australia-Japan FTA, while advancing our mutual interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations."

While in Tokyo, Mr Robb will also meet representatives of key Japanese firms with investments in Australia and members of the business community in Japan.

Mr Robb will then visit China where he will discuss options for progressing bilateral Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

"This agreement has been in the making since 2005. As the Prime Minister said recently, we should be able to bring it to a conclusion in the foreseeable future," he said.

Mr Robb will also hold meetings with Commerce Minister Mr Gao Hucheng, Agriculture Minister, Mr Han Changfu, and Finance Minister Mr Lou Jiwei.

Mr Robb is also scheduled to meet China's senior leadership, as well as Australian companies doing business in China and a number of China's top level businessmen and investors.

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555