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APEC a success for Australia: Trade Minister -

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APEC a success for Australia: Trade Minister
Louise Yaxley reported this story on Monday, September 10, 2012 08:08:00

TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Government says Australia has profited from decisions taken at the APEC meeting in Vladivostok in eastern Russia at the weekend.

It says moves to let universities expand into other countries will provide great opportunities for the large tertiary education sector in Australia.

And Australia is claiming credit for brokering a deal on cutting tariffs.

Louise Yaxley is in Vladivostok.

LOUISE YAXLEY: The Trade Minister Craig Emerson took over from Julia Gillard when she flew home.

Dr Emerson says Australia is responsible for getting APEC leaders to agree to limit import duties to a maximum of 5 per cent by 2015 on goods like solar panels.

CRAIG EMERSON: This is designed to do everything we can to promote the free flow of environmental goods so that we can protect and clean up our environment and deal with the challenge of climate change.

LOUISE YAXLEY: The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton welcomes the breakthrough.

HILLARY CLINTON: We hope this decision will inspire other trading groups to emulate APEC's record of trade innovation.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Dr Emerson says while APEC is aimed at bringing down tariff barriers this is a rare case of it happening.

CRAIG EMERSON: This is the first time and the first forum for a very long time that has actually agreed to reduce tariffs on goods.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Russia put education high on the agenda for this summit. The APEC leaders agreed to work towards making it easier for students and teachers to study and work in different parts of the region and for institutions themselves to set up new campuses overseas.

Dr Emerson says that will pay big dividends

CRAIG EMERSON: You know that education is out third biggest export ahead of LNG (liquefied natural gas). When education exports are already number three and holding up very well, you can see that we're dealing with 21st century issues very successfully here.

And it's not just about dollars and cents. It's about the cultural understanding, the great opportunities that kids have and never forget for the rest of their lives, to be able to study in each others' universities and know each others' countries.

TONY EASTLEY: The Trade Minister Craig Emerson with Louise Yaxley in Vladivostok.