Australia launches economic diplomacy initiative

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, recently launched the Australian Government’s economic diplomacy policy to boost prosperity by strengthening the nation’s engagement in world trade and investment.

Minister Bishop said economic diplomacy involved Government’s determination to engage more closely with the private sector, the business community and non-government organisations (NGO) in Australia and around the world.

‘The global economy is a highly competitive space and sustaining Australia’s position as the 12th largest economy globally requires strong international engagement,’ Minister Bishop said.

‘We have launched two charters that set out the expertise on offer to Australian businesses and State and Territory Governments from [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Trade Commission], Tourism Australia, the Export Finance Insurance Corporation and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research,’ she said in a statement.

Minister Robb said effective economic diplomacy would create jobs, expand the economy and attract new sources of investment.

‘While I am the Minister for Trade and for Tourism, I am also our first Federal Minister for Investment, again a very deliberate decision,’ he said.

‘And Austrade is an increasingly crucial part of our strategy to attract foreign investment and to drive business growth through its broad footprint of 82 offices,’ Minister Robb said in a speech.

Minister Bishop said economic diplomacy was a collaborative process that extended well beyond Government.

‘Australia’s business community, our think tanks, our NGOs and our community are an integral part of our economic diplomacy efforts. We look forward to working together to pursue shared opportunities to drive economic prosperity, in Australia and in our region,’ she said in the statement.

Of Australia’s top 12 export markets, 10 were in Asia in 2013. Their combined value was around A$231 billion, making up about 73 per cent of Australia’s A$319 billion in total export earnings that year, according to Austrade’s latest ‘Why Australia Benchmark Report’.

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