Trade Motions

I rise to make a few brief remarks in the five minutes or just under that I have remaining. Australia is a trading nation. Our economy relies on us being able to trade. We simply don’t have the population size only in our domestic market to create sustainable and viable industries for all the sectors that add value to our economy. So, if we’re going to trade, by definition, trade is a two-way exchange of goods and services. If we want people to provide access for our goods and services into their markets, we need to enter into agreements with them to allow their goods and services to come to Australia, and the Australian people then get to make up their own minds about which goods and services they choose to purchase. We have seen that work in various sectors, sometimes to the detriment of a particular line in Australia, but often to our advantage.

Trade has been of net benefit for Australia—and certainly for my home state of South Australia. The South Australian economy is still heavily reliant on our primary industries in the agricultural sector. What a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s not just the raw products, in terms of crops and things, that are exported. Processed foods account for around 47 per cent of the food exports from South Australia. That means that there are many jobs created. In fact, according to PIRSA in South Australia, one in five people who work in South Australia work in the food and wine industry. So the ability to gain preferential access to international markets is employing one in five South Australian workers.

We have various mechanisms within the parliament to examine things like free trade agreements and TPP-11, and in past years I have been a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties when we have looked at these in detail. One of the frequent criticisms people make is that there’s modelling done to various extents—some people say it’s not enough; some people say it’s overly optimistic. So, as we look at people who are supportive of things like TPP-11 through the JSCOT process, we get an indication of what might come. But I think one of the things that is really useful to do is to then look back and ask: ‘Okay, we’ve now got a free trade agreement with China, a free trade agreement with Japan, a free trade agreement with South Korea. What has happened?’

Coming back to my own state of South Australia, I think it’s really important to look at things like wine exports. Wine exports to Korea increased by nearly 25 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018, indicating that there is a growing demand there for our premium product. That premium product is making entry because, without the tariffs, its price point is more affordable to a market that is growing in terms of its discerning and quality palate. There are a whole range of food products that are exported from Australia into markets such as Korea. In fact, they’ve very recently had a trade expo there highlighting the fact that things like beef, sheep, poultry, milk, wheat and horticulture—a whole range of areas—are going into those markets from South Australia. Lamb is another area that has been exported significantly.

TPP-11 provides us access into a multilateral deal, rather than just the bilaterals that I’ve been speaking about to date, and it gives us access to a wide range of markets.