The Prime Minister has taken some important steps in the right direction with trading partners to our North in recent weeks. Our diplomatic relationship with the emerging and established powers in Asia is multi-faceted and complicated. Advancing Australian interests in our region is vital for our future and a methodical and steady approach to diplomacy will have the best results.
Many people have expressed their concern to me that while there has been a lot of talk about living in the Asian Century the touted benefits have not been evident. The Trade Agreements with Japan and Korea and the arrangements still under negotiation with China will pay off for Australian exporters in the future.
This is good news for an exporting area like the Parkes Electorate. The message being broadcast by Australia is that we are open for business. As the Business Council of Australia has noted, these agreements will reinvigorate and strengthen our existing relationship and offer increased opportunities for Australia.
Japan and Korea are our second and third-largest trading partners and there are clear benefits to the finalisation of these agreements. Independent modelling has shown that the Korean Trade Agreement (KAFTA) will create 15,000 jobs over the next 15 years and add $650 million to the Australian Economy once fully implemented.
The Japanese Agreement (JAEPA) is particularly notable because this is the first time Japan has signed a trade deal with a major agricultural country. Beef producers in the Parkes Electorate will have a greater advantage against their competitors in this important market.
The search for the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 has shown the level of effective and international co-operation that is possible. Of the many nations that have been involved in the search for the missing aircraft, China was the first country to despatch vessels to the Indian Ocean.
Australia’s relationship with China is maturing and Australia Week in China which launched in Shanghai recently showcased the business opportunities which can flow from a sophisticated trading relationship between Australia and China.
Australia began trade agreement negotiations with China, our largest trading partner, under the Howard Government back in 2005. These are lengthy discussions because they are complicated and we need to ensure the best possible deal for our producers.
Australia’s strategic, economic and security interests are well served by the continuation and extension of existing relationships.
The rise of the middle class in Asia is a great opportunity for our Nation. I am hopeful that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will be wrapped up later this year.