Objective 5.3

Businesses are aware of and use free trade agreement outcomes

The Government and industry agree increased awareness and use of Australia’s free trade agreements would help grow our services exports.

Industry representatives reported that many services exporters do not know how to use the services provisions of Australia’s free trade agreements (FTAs) and are deterred by a perception that compliance is complex, time consuming, and expensive. The Financial Services Working Group, in particular, identified this as an important issue for their sector.

Industry believes better cross-linking of public information across government agencies, with a focus on providing more comprehensive FTA compliance advice, would give greater confidence to Australian services firms looking to export.

The Government places a high priority on creating commercial opportunities for Australian businesses through FTAs.

These agreements create platforms for services providers to grow their exports by removing key barriers and providing more transparent and predictable operating conditions overseas.

The Government also remains committed to increasing business awareness and use of FTAs.

The Government will continue to undertake a range of activities with respect to FTAs, for example:

  • DFAT will continue to undertake domestic consultations, including in relation to services, with regard to FTAs and other trade-related agreements that are being negotiated

  • DFAT and Austrade will continue to offer bespoke advocacy intended to raise business awareness and use of FTAs, including in relation to services exports

  • The FTA Portal, a website providing businesses with easy-to-access information about goods and services export opportunities under Australia’s FTAs, will be

  • Maintained and updated when new FTAs enter into force

  • Detailed online information about FTAs will be maintained and updated where necessary, including factsheets on services relates issued for businesses; and

  • FTA email inboxes that allow SMEs and other businesses to submit FTA related queries and have them answered by FTA experts will be maintained.

The Government also recognises the important role industry associations and other business groups can play in assisting business understand and use FTAs.

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