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Australia-United States ministerial trade talks.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office (Bernie Eades) 02 6277 7420

or 0488 295 800 Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC044 3 June 2008

AUSTRALIA-UNITED STATES MINISTERIAL TRADE TALKS

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, met today (2 June) with United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Susan Schwab, in Newark, New Jersey for annual bilateral trade talks.

Mr Crean said "Reflecting the breadth and level of sophistication of Australia's trade and economic relations with the US, I am delighted to announce that future bilateral talks with the US will be held under the framework of the Australia-US Ministerial Trade Talks (AUSMINTT)."

AUSMINTT provides the Australian government with the opportunity to engage with the US on a broad range of trade policy issues central to our trade and economic interests. This includes building on the Australia-US FTA (AUSFTA), working together in pursuit of our regional trade interests, including APEC - which the US will host in 2011 - and importantly at this time, working to achieve a successful outcome to the Doha Development Round.

The United States is Australia's major economic partner. In 2007 overall trade in goods and services stood at nearly $47 billion. The investment relationship exceeded $760 billion last year and was Australia's largest by some way.

The US is Australia's most important export market for services. Australian services exports to the United States grew by 4 per cent in 2007 and were worth $5.8 billion.

"I underlined the priority the Government attaches to promoting further Australian services exports to the US market. Services make up over a third of our exports to the United States and are growing consistently."

"I welcome the improved access for Australian accountants and lawyers achieved through the work of the professional services working group established under the AUSFTA.

"I look forward to further progress in negotiations on mutual recognition between Australian and Texas engineers. These are important first steps in pursuing greater access for Australian professionals in the US market."

"I also highlighted recent progress on defence trade cooperation, aviation and greater integration of our financial markets as examples of the strength and diversity in the bilateral trade relationship."

"I reiterated to Ambassador Schwab Australia's disappointment at the 2008 Farm Bill and my desire to work with the Administration to limit farm subsidies and supports through a good Doha outcome. I

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Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office (Bernie Eades) 02 6277 7420

or 0488 295 800 Departmental (02) 6261 1555

explained the Farm Bill's crop, sugar and dairy measures were of particular concern to Australia. I also raised concerns about the US Government's decision to purchase up to $50 million of pork products to help the pork industry. "

"Given the previous Government failed to have sugar included in the AUSFTA, this issue plus those other agricultural matters arising from the US Farm Bill will have to be addressed via the Doha Round."

Mr Crean said "The talks also provided a useful opportunity to discuss various challenges which both nations confront in our efforts to open markets around the world."

"Ambassador Schwab and I will continue to work together to do all we can to successfully conclude the Doha Round. We need to capitalise on the opportunities it provides to give the world economy a much needed confidence boost; to open up new export market opportunities, including for developing countries; and to help address currently high world food prices. An ambitious Doha outcome remains our absolute priority this year."

"We also discussed opportunities to advance our joint interests in APEC's agenda following the APEC Trade Ministers' Meeting in Arequipa, Lima, on 31 May-1 June which we both attended. Building on Peru's hosting of APEC this year, Australia and the US will work with the next two hosts, Singapore and Japan, in helping to shape the APEC agenda in the lead up to the US hosting of APEC in 2011.

"We also discussed global issues, like climate change, which, if not dealt with responsibly, have the ability to impact negatively on trade relationships."

Australia is scheduled to host the next round of Ministerial Trade Talks in 2009.