Thursday, 5 December 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham. Can the minister outline to the Senate how the Morrison government's plan is working to ensure our ambitious trade agenda supports Australian exporters in accessing new markets?
I thank Senator Paterson for his question and his absolute pursuit of open trade access for Australian businesses in markets around the world.
In the past fortnight alone, our government have successfully passed the necessary legislation to ensure that we can ratify the Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru free trade agreements. We've released the government's response to the first-ever industry-led Services Export Action Plan. We've seen record trade surpluses for the September quarter. We've chaired and overseen the inaugural Australia-Vietnam Economic Partnership Meeting. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in this parliament has supported the Uruguay-Australia bilateral investment treaty. And this week we've had export awards celebrating the contribution of Australia's best exporters to the Australian economy, as well as another monthly trade surplus and a record monthly services exports total.
That's just in the last two weeks alone. Throughout the course of this year, our government has overseen continued growth of opportunities for Australian businesses and exporters. Our farmers and businesses across the country are seizing the opportunities, and we're continuing to build new opportunities for them. We have come to almost the point of closure in relation to negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, a regional trade agreement that will bring together 15 or 16 regional nations into a much tighter area of regional economic integration. We are in pursuit of negotiations with the European Union that have progressed successfully during the course of this year, and that we trust can be concluded by the end of this year.
In this year's budget, we provided more funding for the Export Market Development Grants to make it easier for Australian small and medium-sized businesses to get into export markets. And we've outlined new strategies and approaches through Austrade, supporting the development of our critical minerals industry— (Time expired)
Australian farmers, businesses and service suppliers all stand energised in terms of the opportunities of these recently legislated agreements, which we trust will all come into reality next year following complementary action in those other nations. Those types of sectors that we're going to see pursue opportunities are the farming sector in relation to the Indonesia agreement, where there will be a zero tariff applied for 500,000 tonnes of feed grains under the Indonesia agreement, a quota that will grow by some five per cent per annum; new opportunities for services businesses, particularly in the education space, to operate in Indonesia under that agreement; lower costs for wine exporters as a result of the Hong Kong agreement through new labelling rules and more transparent regulations; immediate duty free access into Peru for Australian wine, sheep meat, kangaroo meat and wheat under the Peru agreement. These are just some of the benefits, which is why industry has so widely and warmly welcomed these agreements as they are taking advantage of our prior agreements.
On Tuesday this week we had new ABS data which showed that Australia posted a record $21.1 billion trade surplus for the 29 September quarter. This is the highest quarterly trade surplus Australia has ever posted. It showed the highest ever quarterly goods exports of $103.5 billion and the second highest quarterly services exports of $24.8 billion. On top of that, the ABS released only a few hours ago another monthly set of trade figures showing yet another monthly trade surplus for Australia of $4.5 billion.
States are seeing good gains. Across New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT and my home state of South Australia there's an increase of nine per cent in their latest export data. That's some 22 consecutive months, and in celebrating such successful businesses such as Populous—our Australian exporter of the year—a Brisbane-based architecture company which is designing stadiums, such as Yankee Stadium— (Time expired)