House debates

Monday, 30 November 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Trade

2:48 pm

Photo of Angie BellAngie Bell (Moncrieff, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's approach to streamlining our export sector and diversifying Australia's trade market is supporting our economic comeback from the COVID-19 recession?

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question. It's an incredibly important question. We are working to diversify our market opportunities, including through FTAs with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru, which will provide better market access for 99 per cent of Australian goods. Our trade agreements with PACER Plus will enter into force on 13 December 2020, building on our record of delivering trade agreements with Korea, Japan, China and the TPP-11 countries. We have finalised eight FTAs since coming to office, and there are more on the agenda. We have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the government is pursuing trade agreements with the European Union, the United Kingdom and the Pacific Alliance. We have already lifted our share of trade covered by trade agreements from 26 per cent to 70 per cent, and we are working to grow it further.

Australian businesses that export hire, on average, 23 per cent more staff, pay 11 per cent higher wages and have labour productivity 13 per cent higher than nonexporters. And importantly, in the budget, we announced that we're investing $6.6 million to pursue new free trade agreement opportunities around the world and to boost digital trade within our region. In the budget, we also announced that Minister Birmingham would join with the Minister for Home Affairs in leading a new joint ministerial task force on simplified trade, working with a dedicated industry advisory council to make trading simpler and cheaper by reducing red tape, increasing the resilience of our supply chains and supporting trade growth and expansion. The government is improving regional digital trading conditions and making it easier for exporters to do business, including in areas of personal data protection, e-invoicing, paperless customs procedures and electronic certification for agricultural exports. And we're doing this because trade creates jobs. One in five jobs are trade related. When you go to regional Australia—and I know the DPM will be very pleased to hear this—it's actually one in four. That is why we are focusing on diversifying our export markets. We know it is incredibly important to do this work and we will continue to do it. We've negotiated eight FTAs, and we have more on the table, because we know our economic comeback is about creating jobs right across the nation and in regional Australia.