Read supporting evidence

  • Openness to global markets means more intense competition and technology transfer, driving innovation and productivity growth.
  • One in five Australian jobs is related to trade. Australia’s living standards have always been, and will continue to be, underwritten by international trade and investment. Trade (imports and exports) is the equivalent of around 40 per cent of GDP.
  • Despite our growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region, our experience and understanding of the cultures, languages, behaviours and customs of emerging economies in Asia requires continual deepening. People-to-people links are essential to deeper international engagement and educational connections establish great benefits.
  • Recently, long-standing consensus about the benefits of free trade has shown signs of fracturing, as evidenced by increasing trade conflict and the imposition of tariffs on China-US trade. Amid these developments, Australia needs to be a voice promoting stability, cooperation and dialogue.
  • An increasing proportion of Australia’s trade is covered by preferential rates of tariff – often zero tariffs – under free trade agreements. However, the efforts of the Australian Government increasingly need to move to the ”home front”, rather than seeing foreign barriers as the sole problem facing Australian exports.
  • For example, World Bank indices suggest the time and cost associated with customs and documentary compliance is many times greater in Australia than in best-practice comparators.
  • Recent changes to Australia’s visa arrangements for the temporary entry of skilled professionals have generated new hurdles for Australian businesses seeking to utilise foreign experience and know-how to enhance competitiveness and to transfer skills to the Australian workforce.
  • The changes also undermine Australia’s attractiveness as an investment destination, with recruitment for business operations now seen as easier in other, competing locations.