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Wednesday, 11 May 1994
Page: 638


Senator GARETH EVANS (Leader of the Government in the Senate) —by leave—I did not have in front of me, when I responded before, the precise details of Senator McMullan's itinerary. I now do. He is going to Latin America for a Cairns Group meeting. I had thought it was starting at the end of this week. It is, in fact, starting on 19 May. What he is doing is taking the opportunity of that visit to Latin America to make bilateral visits to a series of countries in Latin America which are otherwise difficult and time consuming to get to, and where he will be doing a job for the Commonwealth.    Senator McMullan takes until tomorrow to get to Santiago because that is the most direct route by which one can get to Latin America. In the afternoon of his arrival there tomorrow, he opens a seminar by the Australian mining industry at Expomin 1994, which is the largest mining exhibition in Latin America, with 30 Australian exhibitors. If opposition senators do not think that is a useful way of spending his ministerial time as part of a ministerial visit, they do not know anything about the business of government.

  I did not know precisely what his itinerary was. I knew he had left the country to go to a Cairns Group meeting. He is not wasting his time. He has hardly a day off in the entire time that he is away. He is leaving now to get those series of bilateral visits in, in order to be able to return in time for the resumption of parliament in the first week of June. I seek leave to incorporate that particular itinerary in Hansard.

  Leave granted.

  The document read as follows

Minister for Trade, Senator McMullan

Visit to Latin America, 11-29 May 1994

11-12 May:Travel by the most direct air route from Canberra to Santiago (Chile)

12 May:  AM:Arrive Santiago

          PM:Open Seminar by Australian Mining Industry at Expomin 94 (largest mining exhibition in Latin America—30 Australian exhibitors)

13 May:  Meetings with Australian/Chile Chamber of Commerce and Chilean Ministers for Mines, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Trade officials

14 May:  Attend Expomin and Australian pavilion

15 May:  Sunday

16 May:  Meetings with Chilean President, Finance Minister and private sector

        PM:Fly to Buenos Aires

        Meet with US Secretary of Agriculture Espy

17 May:  Meetings with Argentine President Menem, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and business representatives

18 May:  Meetings with Secretaries of Transport, Energy and Economics

19 May:  Travel to Montevideo

      Meetings with President of Uruguay and Foreign and Agriculture Ministers

        PM:Cairns Group Meeting commences

20 May:  Cairns Group Meeting

21 May:  Travel to Brazil

22 May:  Sunday

23 May:    AM:Meetings with private sector and Australian Business Delegation in Sao Paulo

24 May:  AM:Travel to Brasilia

        PM:Meetings with Ministers of Mines & Energy, Communications, Agriculture, Finance and External Relations

25 May:  Travel Brasilia to Mexico City

26 May:  Meetings with Australian Business Delegation and Ministers of Energy, Mines & Para-State Industries, Foreign Affairs, Trade & Industrial Development

        Minister to sign Administrative Arrangements to Bilateral Nuclear Safeguards Agreement

27 May:  AM:Meetings with Mexican President Salinas and Ministers for Finance and Agriculture & Water

    PM:Attend Australian Sugar Seminar and brief Business delegation

    Evening:Depart Mexico City for return to Australia

29 May:  Arrive Australia

Media Release

Bob McMullan: Minister for Trade

Senator McMullan to visit Latin America

The Minister for Trade, Senator Bob McMullan, will visit Latin America from 11-27 May 1994 to attend bilateral meetings in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico and chair a meeting of the Cairns Group in Uruguay.

Senator McMullan's visit will focus on the opportunities created for Australian companies by the racial economic and trade liberalisation reforms in Latin America.

"Latin America has the second largest economic growth in the world and we need to impress Australia's trade capabilities and competitiveness upon decision-makers in the region," Senator McMullan said.

The Minister will be accompanied by a trade mission during his visit, including companies involved in mining, telecommunications, agriculture technology and automotive components.

"Australian business has not been slow to enter the market. In the past year, exports to the region increased by 40 per cent, but there is still huge potential for Australian goods, services and technology."

"I will be meeting my Ministerial counterparts and reinforcing Australia's strong interest in new investment and export opportunities in Latin America."

Senator McMullan said that the close cooperation established during the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations has strengthened Australia's links with Latin America's member countries of the Cairns Group of Agricultural Fair Traders.

"An important function of the Group port-Uruguay will be to monitor the implementation of Round commitments, especially by the majors."

Senator McMullan's trip will commence in Santiago de Chile, where there will be a large Australian business presence at the major trade display, EXPOMIN.