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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13255


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (14:24): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House how open markets and free trade agreements will generate exciting opportunities in Australia for growth and jobs?

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is warned.

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:24): I thank the honourable member for her question. Around the world, at the G20, at APEC and at the East Asia Summit, there was a commitment to opening up markets as a lever for creating jobs and boosting growth. Opening up our economies is a vote of optimism over fear. It is a sign that we are backing our businesses and exporters so that they can back themselves onto the world stage. When countries remove trade barriers, they know that there will be more competition in their own markets. But they also know that there are many more opportunities to grow and expand.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will open up new markets for our traditional commodity exports and also in the services sector and industries of the future. President Obama expressed confidence that he would win the support of Congress for the TPP, which includes economies covering 40 per cent of global GDP. And also encouraging was the great enthusiasm of other nations in the region, including the Philippines and Indonesia, to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Xi indicated that China is working to ratify the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement before the end of the year, and, for our part, we are also aiming at this deadline, so that exporters—our exporters—will get the double hit of tariff reductions in just a few weeks. The unprecedented market access that China has offered to Australia under the ChAFTA—the highest quality free trade deal China has done with any country—puts our firms at a significant competitive advantage to others in other nations.

In my bilateral meetings with the European Union council and the European Union commission, we agreed to commence work towards the launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU. When it comes to the EU, our relationship with many economies, while extremely cordial, is somewhat underdone in terms of the economic activity. Germany is a good example. They are the fourth-largest economy in the world but only our 16th largest export market. Our Minister for Finance signed a double tax agreement with Germany, and we also have a very ambitious agenda via the Australia-Germany Advisory Group to increase trade, investment and cooperation on science and education. We have also established the EU-Australia Leadership Forum, with digital government set as the first topic for discussion.

The pace of change in the global economy has never been as rapid as it is today, and that requires economies to be flexible, agile, dynamic and free.