For over two hundred years, foreign investment has played a crucial role in delivering higher rates of economic growth, employment and standards of living to Australians, and this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

Did you know Australia currently has ten Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with sixteen countries and more FTAs will enter into force in the future? Is Australia pursuing FTAs to the exclusion of other trade liberalising opportunities?  Are these FTAs being used by Australian business? Why is Australia so keen on FTAs?  This article addresses these questions and other matters relating to Australia’s FTA agenda.

Keith Pitt speaking from a podium.

As I’ve travelled across the country presenting at the free FTA seminars, from Kununurra to Coffs Harbour, Hobart to Darwin, and Mackay to Murray Bridge, it’s been really pleasing to meet Aussie business people taking advantage of our FTAs.

It is the opportunities from Peru’s economic growth that we are trying to tap into with the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  We want to improve Australia’s competitive position in the Peruvian market. We want to create a higher level of legal certainty for Australians trading with and investing in Peru.  And we hope the Peru-Australia FTA will have a head-turning effect to encourage even closer ties between us.  All of that builds business links, and that means increased investment and employment.

Among the many revealing results in the recent Lowy Institute Poll was that 86 per cent of Australians trust Japan ‘to act responsibly in the world’, equal to trust in Germany and second only to confidence in the UK (90 per cent).

Our economy is growing and living standards rising as we engage with the world through trade.