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Trade figures reinforce need for a new approach to export policy.

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4 February 2008

Trade Figures Reinforce Need for a New Approach to Export Policy Trade figures released today reinforce the need for a new direction in Australia’s trade policy.

The trade deficit was $1.9 billion for December, down from $2.3 billion in November, and $19.2 billion for the 2007 calendar year - the third largest on record.

The Government has already announced measures aimed at boosting our export performance, including a range of reforms to the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme.

More broadly, the Government is committed to an economic policy framework that lifts our productive capacity and boosts the competitiveness of Australian businesses exporting to the world.

I will soon be announcing details on the Government’s review of Australia’s trade policies and programs that will guide the Government’s future approach to trade policy, including identifying measures to improve our trade performance.

Following my recent meetings with Trade Ministers in India, Japan, Europe and the US I am encouraged at the high level political will and commitment to bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion this year.

I am also working closely with my Cairns Group colleagues leaders to ensure that it once again plays a key role in the negotiations.

Achieving a successful outcome to the Doha Round will generate the biggest trade and economic gains for Australia. Importantly, a comprehensive outcome will provide a much need injection of confidence and certainty at a time of global economic uncertainty.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555