Senate debates

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions without Notice

Trade

2:52 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Fawcett for his question. I know of his very deep interest and indeed knowledge, of course, in all matters of trade, foreign policy and defence. I'm pleased to inform Senator Fawcett and the Senate that Prime Minister Morrison, at the recent G20 meeting of the leaders in Osaka, in Japan, delivered strong messages to the G20 about the importance of maintaining and modernising a consistent rules based framework to facilitate trade and investment flow between Australia and other nations, but, indeed, right across the globe. This is critically important because one in five Australian jobs are trade related. Indeed, 2.2 million Australian jobs depend upon our trade relationships and trade activities as a nation.

Trade growth has been an engine behind the type of jobs growth that Australia has seen, which Senator Cash was speaking about at the commencement of question time. Indeed, one quarter of Australia's economic growth over the last five years is estimated to be attributable to our growth in trade and export activity. Trading companies pay higher wages—an estimated 11½ per cent in higher wages amongst those companies and businesses who export. Household incomes are an estimated $8,400 higher due to the type of trade liberalisation and opening-up of markets that Australia has undertaken.

Other nations are great beneficiaries of more open-market environments, and we have seen that with hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty throughout our region in the Indo-Pacific and particularly in Asia as a result of more open markets. Australia is committed, whether it is with large trading partners like China or smaller but no less important trading partners like our friends from Fiji, who are in the chamber at present, to make sure that we continue to advance, as the Prime Minister did at the G20, the agenda for open trading arrangements.

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