Monday, 21 June 2021
Questions without Notice
Trade with the United Kingdom
My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister please update the House on the benefits of our plan for a UK-Australia free trade agreement, particularly for investment, digital trade, the creative sector and service industries?
I thank the member for his question and his passion for free trade. He's pursued free trade policies ever since he came to this place, and I thank him for his commitment to the importance of trade to this country. Not only were we able to deliver for our ricegrowers, our canegrowers, our dairy farmers, our beef producers and our lamb producers but also, in this free trade agreement, we were able to make sure that we got broad coverage right across our economy through the Australia-UK free trade agreement.
The UK is our second-biggest source of foreign investment, worth $737 billion in 2020, while the UK is the second-biggest destination of Australian investment, worth $615 billion in 2020. When it comes to two-way services trade, it's worth $9.9 billion in 2020, and our professional services accounted for $769 million—that is 13.6 per cent of our total services trade. So what we were able to deliver in the Australia-UK free trade agreement was an ability to underpin our already strong investment relationship, including: commitments covering all investment, portfolio and FDI; to establish a best-practice framework to improve two-way movement of professionals, including provisions to support mutual recognition of professional qualifications and a specific work program between legal peak bodies to ease access for lawyers; and provisions on temporary entry to support economic recovery, enhance opportunities for business travel and encourage people to travel and work in each other's countries.
We were able to support our vibrant creative sectors, including through high-standard provisions on copyright, designs and the enforcement of intellectual property rights online. We were also able to expand reciprocity arrangements for artists' resale rights, to amplify the economic benefits to Australian artists who market their works overseas. The highest proportion of eligible resales in the Australian scheme occurs among Indigenous art wholesalers. All this will create more jobs in our country. One in five jobs already is created by trade, one in four, as the Deputy Prime Minister knows, in regional Australia. That's why the Ai Group's CEO, Innes Willox, said:
Liberalisation in the movement of people and mutual recognition of professional qualifications will encourage more service exports, which represent up 70% of our economy.
The Business Council of Australia said:
Lowering barriers to key agriculture goods over time will be a significant boost to regional Australia …
An opposition member interjecting—