The new Australian Economic Diplomacy agenda is based on four key principles:

1. Promoting trade - Australia’s ambitious trade liberalisation agenda aims to open up new markets and opportunities for businesses. The Australian Government is seeking to work with key regional partners to develop a stable and transparent framework for global trade.

2. Encouraging growth - As the 2014 President of the G20, Australia has outlined an agenda that seeks to focus international attention on economic growth, fiscal reform and infrastructure development.

3. Attracting investment - The Australian Government has signalled a commitment to facilitating Australian investment abroad and encouraging foreign investment domestically.

4. Supporting Australian business - Australia will champion a strong and sustainable private sector throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This policy will lead to new and innovative opportunities for Australian businesses seeking to engage internationally.

Key Australian Agencies

There are five Commonwealth bodies that  help Australian businesses achieve positive trade and investment outcomes.

1. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

DFAT is responsible for Australia’s international trade and investment negotiations, including matters relating to Free Trade Agreements. The Department liaises with the Australian business community to provide advice on commercial, strategic and regulatory developments in key markets.

DFAT representatives have developed networks with ministers, officials, academics, the media and businesses in 95 posts around the world.  

The Business and Government Liaison Section of the Department assists Australian businesses by:

  • Identifying and accessing emerging markets;
  • Promoting Australia as a strong and reliable trading partner;
  • Advancing Australia’s interests in trade negotiations and through multilateral economic forums;
  • Outlining regulatory and legal obligations in foreign markets; and
  • Attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Australia.

DFAT also manages Australia’s foreign aid assistance program, which is worth over $5 billion annually.

2. Austrade

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) has 82 offices in 48 international markets. It seeks to promote Australia’s economic strengths by identifying economic opportunities across a range of industries and regions. Austrade is responsible for the ‘Australia Unlimited’ campaign, which acts to promotes Australia’s expertise and brand within various sectors.

Austrade has developed programmes focused on leveraging opportunities in the education and tourism sectors. It publishes a series of ‘Insights’ into relevant matters affecting Australia’s trade partners, with recent documents covering issues including intellectual property rights in China and Thai investment in Australia.  

3. Tourism Australia

Tourism Australia is the peak Commonwealth body responsible for promoting Australia as a unique travel destination. It conducts activities in 18 markets and provides comprehensive business development advice to the domestic tourism industry. It has five offices across mainland China and Hong Kong alone.

4. Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EIFC)

The EFIC is a Commonwealth’s export credit agency, providing export-orientated Australian businesses with specialist financial and insurance services. It offers assistance to small and medium sized businesses through to major corporations with significant projects.

It engages with a variety of sectors, including construction, health, ICT, manufacturing, mining, shipping and research. The EFIC also supports small businesses in emerging markets that buy Australian goods and services, as well as sub-contractors collaborating with Australian exporters.

5. Australian Centre for international Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

The ACIAR leads Australia’s collaborative efforts to promote agricultural research and development in developing countries. Focusing on sustainable and productive projects in the Asia-Pacific and Africa, ACIAR has eight key offices in China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam. ACIAR’s website outlines many of the research projects that Australia is supporting. 

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