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Getting on with business in trade.

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Media release

22 October - MVT85/2004

Getting on with Business in Trade

Australia's aggressive push for greater access to export markets and job creation through trade will remain as the key focus of reappointed Trade Minister Mark Vaile.

Mr Vaile was reappointed today following the re-election of the Howard Government earlier this month.

Mr Vaile said Australia's pragmatic and ambitious approach to trade negotiations aimed to create further opportunities for Australia's exporters would continue.

"The Coalition Government is committed to

building on the success of the Free Trade Agreement we signed with the United States, Thailand and Singapore over the last two years and we will now vigorously pursue FTAs with China, ASEAN, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates," Mr Vaile said.

"We will also maintain a leadership position in global trade negotiations.

"The Coalition Government will continue to pursue every opportunity to open new markets for Australia's exporters - both through global trade reform at the WTO and in direct negotiations with our key trading partners - and provide targeted assistance to help small and medium sized Australian businesses capitalise on those opportunities."

During the election campaign, Mr Vaile announced the Coalition Government would provide a $30 million boost to the Export Market Development Grant scheme as part of its efforts to help Australian businesses take advantage of our new Free Trade Agreements.

"The Coalition Government's Free Trade Agreements with the United States, Thailand

and Singapore will bring enormous benefits to Australian exporters, create jobs and help our economy grow," Mr Vaile said.

"Australia is one of the world's great trading nations and exports are a proven generator of jobs. Our trade policy agenda has never been busier and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead."

Mr Vaile also welcomed the appointment of the Hon Bruce Billson MP as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade. He paid tribute to the work done by the Hon De-Anne Kelly MP as Parliamentary Secretary for Trade over the past year and congratulated her on her promotion to the ministry.

Mr Vaile was first appointed as Australia's Trade Minister in July 1999. He had previously been the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Minister for Transport and Regional Development. He has been the member for the New South Wales seat of Lyne in Australia's Parliament since March 1993.

Contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420, DFAT Media Liaison 6261 1555