By the Hon Steven Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
Australia continues to reap the rewards after opening up to the world.
Our economy is growing and living standards rising as we engage with the world through trade.
This reform programme – from successive governments across several decades – has helped deliver 25 years of continuous economic growth, creating thousands of jobs.
As trade barriers have come down, doors have opened for Australian businesses that now have access to billions of consumers across the globe, not just the 24 million who call Australia home.
This is particularly important for regional Australia, where our farmers export two thirds of what they produce. Open markets are vital so they can sell their produce overseas.
On top of that, liberalised trade lowers the cost of imported goods for consumers and business alike. It also brings in new capital from abroad and gives us access to sophisticated technologies, making our companies more innovative and efficient.
Despite the benefits that flow from an open and productive economy, protectionist voices seeking to slow or reverse this openness are getting louder.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is walking away from the legacy of past Labor leaders, such as Bob Hawke, to build the case for protectionist policies.
While Labor adopts a closed-economy mindset, the Turnbull Government is continuing to pursue an ambitious trade agenda to keep our economy growing and creating more jobs.
We’re putting in place trade agreements and policies to capitalise on the enormous opportunity on our doorstep.
Asia’s middle class is projected to grow from less than 600 million at the beginning of this decade, to over 3.2 billion by 2030. This incredible growth is an opportunity for our farmers, service providers and manufacturers to grow their businesses and ultimately create more Aussie jobs.
Business is already booming for those making the most of the free trade agreements (FTAs) the Coalition concluded with China, Korea and Japan.
NSW skincare manufacturer Cherub Rubs will double its factory size to meet the demand flowing from China and Korea.
Likewise, Queensland-based BJP Laboratories is more than doubling the size of its workforce and moving into a new facility to cope with increased demand under these FTAs, including to its contract manufacturing partners Blackmores and Swisse.
These are the new Aussie jobs our trade agreements are creating, manufacturing high-quality products that compete with the best in the world.
There are success stories like these playing out across the country. You don’t often hear about them because the nature of news means the factory closing gets more coverage than the one opening or expanding.
The Turnbull Government is working to create more Australian jobs and success stories. That’s why we’re pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that will open new markets and grow our exports.
Steven Ciobo was sworn in as the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment on 19 July 2016. This is Mr Ciobo’s third front bench role in the foreign affairs and trade portfolio. He has previously served as the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment.