100th FTA Seminar – Gold Coast

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Today marks a milestone, it's the100th Free Trade Agreement information seminar.

Like the other FTA seminars heldover the last three years, this event is a great opportunity for you to learnmore about Australia's trade agreements and how to use them to grow yourbusiness.

During today's seminar, you willfind out about new, substantial business opportunities associated withAustralia's Free Trade Agreements; get advice about the government services andprograms available to help you on your export journey, including from Austradeand the Export Finance Insurance Corporation; have an opportunity to learn moreabout the award-winning FTA Portal, which provides easy access to crucialinformation for those of you wanting to export goods and services; and hearfrom a local business representative, Tom Quinn from OzKleen.

I would like to thank Tom foragreeing to share his first-hand experience of exporting and taking advantageof our Free Trade Agreements.

Australia's growing network oftrade agreements is good for Queensland and Gold Coast businesses. Queensland'stotal goods exports were valued at almost $70 billion in 2017, a rise of 25 percent over 2016. 65 per cent of these exports went to FTA partner countries.

I know there are many businesses inthe Gold Coast area that are already getting a competitive boost from our FTAs.

However I want even more businessesfrom the Gold Coast area and elsewhere to benefit from exporting. That's themain goal behind today's seminar.

Since I launched this series of FTAseminars just over three years ago, they have been held in every state andterritory of this great nation, many in regional and rural locations.

People attending these seminars have discovered that these FTAsare not just for big businesses or our traditional exports. These FTAs alsoopen up many new and niche export opportunities for small and mediumenterprises.

Thanks to our FTAs with China,Japan and Korea, almost all of Australia's goods exports to these countries areeligible to enter duty-free or with preferential access. They are givingAustralian businesses a competitive edge in major North Asian economies.

A recently released PwC reportshowed that uptake and use of the North Asia FTAs has been high, covering wellover 80 per cent of eligible goods trade, and over 95 per cent in the case ofJapan.

The same report found 62 per centof Australian exporters use at least one FTA to give them an advantage inexport markets.

Our North Asian FTAs aren't justabout goods exports. They also deliver new export opportunities for a widerange of Australian service suppliers.

A key part of the TurnbullCoalition Government's trade agenda, the most ambitious in our nation'shistory, is implementing new FTAs, and there have been a couple of major "wins"in the last few months.

I signed the Peru-Australia FreeTrade Agreement, or PAFTA, in February, with my Peruviancounterpart. Australia and 10 other Asia-Pacific countries signedthe TPP-11 in March.

We are taking steps to ratify bothFTAs and bring them into force as soon as practicable so that Australiantraders and investors can benefit from the huge new range of opportunitiesopened up by these new agreements.

The scope and breadth of the TPP-11cannot be underestimated. It willeliminate 98 per cent of tariffs in the TPP-11 region. For the firsttime, it will provide valuable market access opportunities for Australian exporters,farmers, manufacturers, service providers and small businesses in Canada and Mexico.

Underthe TPP-11, Canada will eliminate its tariffs on beef and refined sugar withinfive years, and tariffs on wheat and barley immediately. Mexico will eliminateits tariffs on sheepmeat within eight years and grant improved quotas forAustralian dairy exports.

TheTPP-11 also builds upon the deals we have already made with our FTApartners. Significantly, under the TPP-11 our agricultural exports to Japanwill enjoy even better access than we have under our current bilateralagreement.

Within 15 years, Japan's tariffs onbeef will be reduced to nine per cent and tariffs on live cattle and processedmeat products eliminated entirely. Japan has also given Australian riceexporters new market access for the first time in 20 years.

Under this deal, Australia'sworld-class service providers will also benefit from improved transparency andpredictability when operating in TPP-11 markets, which are some of thefastest-growing in the world.

The Australian education sector,for example, will see new opportunities for expansion into growing markets withincreasing demands for high-quality education services.

Lastfinancial year [2016-17], nearly one quarter of Australia's total goods andservices exports, worth nearly $88 billion, went to TPP-11 countries. Ilook forward to seeing you help continue to grow this figure, as tariffs tumbleand services sectors open up under the TPP-11.

Some of the businesses here in thisroom today are already making a big contribution.

The local business you will hearfrom today, Ozkleen, sells eco-friendly, scientifically advanced cleaningproducts that have benefitted from tariff cuts in Korea and China.

For example, prior to theKorea-Australia Free Trade Agreement the tariff for this product was 6.5%.Under KAFTA the tariff for this product has been eliminated.

Last year when I hosted the 70thseminar in Brisbane I had the pleasure of hearing from BJP Laboratories – Ibelieve George Fourie is here again today. With the introduction of ChAFTA andKAFTA, they saw an overnight increase in enquiries – 'many, many more' and haveincreased their exports by 20 per cent.

Tariffs under these agreements forBJP's pharmaceutical and vitamin and health products have either already beeneliminated or will be by 1 January next year.

And after the break you'll hearfrom Brisbane manufacturer GroundProbe in the video about how they are alreadyexporting their mining technology and products to Peru and stand to benefitfrom this new FTA coming into force as well as from new opportunities beingopened up under the TPP-11 agreement.

Another great business is localhoney exporter Biosota – I believe Andrey is here today – they came to one ofour seminars in Sydney and are looking to set up a second factory here on theGold Coast to help support their growing export business.

Biosota already exports to Chinaand Korea and is negotiating with importers in Japan.

Biosota exports to several TPP-11countries as well as to the US, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The experiences of these businesseshighlights why our ongoing trade agenda is so important.

The Turnbull Coalition Government'sactive approach to the negotiation of new trade agreements promotes ournational interests by ensuring Australian businesses and Australia as a nationget even greater benefits from open internationaltrade and investment.

Thisagenda includes FTA negotiations with Hong Kong, the so-called RCEP economieswhich includes the 10 ASEAN economies, China, Korea, Japan, India and NewZealand, the Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru), aswell as future FTA negotiations with the EU and the UK.

In Australia we are in our 27thyear of continuous economic growth and around one in five workers, or 2.2million people, are employed in a trade-related activity.

Australianconsumers and businesses will benefit from greater access to the world's bestgoods, services, people, capital and ideas, as we work toward our target ofhaving 80 per cent of Australia's trade with FTA partner countries.

There will also be the deeper andlonger-term benefits for Australia of improved competitiveness and productivitythrough the introduction of new technologies which support the modernisation ofour businesses, and improved access to important global supply chains.

One new development I want tohighlight briefly is the online FTA Portal. The Portal is an online tool thatmakes it easy for exporters and other stakeholders to find out what tariffapplies to merchandise exports sent to any of our FTA partner countries andprovides advice about how to fulfil export requirements. It features a toolthat allows businesses, including SMEs, to compare FTAs and choose the one thatoffers the greatest benefits.

Earlier this week, I launched anupgraded version of the Portal, which now includes information on thecommitments FTA partners have made to Australia in the architectural,engineering, legal, accounting, auditing and tax advisory sectors. Othersectors will be added by the end of June.

The Portal will offer Australianservices providers guidance on how to sell their services to overseascustomers; travel overseas to supply services; and set up a competitiveoverseas presence.

Goods and services commitments innew FTAs, such as the TPP-11, will be added to the Portal as soon as they enterinto force.

It's great that you have investedyour time to attend today.

The Turnbull Government's focus ison fostering a strong economy – one that will allow businesses like yours tothrive and employment opportunities to grow, and these FTAs are part of ourplan to help grow businesses on the Gold Coast.

I know you will get a lot of usefulinformation and advice out of today's seminar.

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