Outcome 1

Free and open international trade in services

Australia’s efforts to create new opportunities for services exporters are underpinned by international rules, including those of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Australia’s expanding network of free trade agreements deliver additional diverse, substantial and preferential export opportunities for services suppliers.

With four new agreements entering into force in 2020, Australia has fifteen in-force free trade agreements with twenty-six partners. Our free trade agreement network will deliver even more opportunities as additional agreements are negotiated and enter into force in the future.

However, even with these agreements in place, services exporters often need to meet additional business requirements under local rules and regulations when providing services overseas compared to Australia.

These rules and regulations are important. They are designed to maintain standards that ensure consumers, the public and the environment are protected. However, they can also create unintentional barriers for services providers. The cost and time spent to meet them can be overly burdensome for exporters who have already met similar requirements in Australia, making their business models impractical and offerings uncompetitive.

The Australian Government seeks to address these barriers by taking a multi-pronged approach to promoting an open global economy through:

• the WTO at the multilateral level
• mechanisms under our regional and bilateral free trade agreements; and
• ‘commercial diplomacy’ agenda work bilaterally in key markets.

We also actively address these issues in international economic forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Group of Twenty (G20) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Through these activities, we seek further market openings overseas for services suppliers and the mutual recognition of business requirements between Australia and key trading partners. We also promote the adoption of international standards and seek interoperability between Australian and foreign rules and regulations where it makes sense to do so.

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The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement

To help ensure Australian businesses and consumers can continue to benefit from growing digital trade opportunities, on 6 August 2020, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, digitally signed the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA).

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APEC improving standards and regulations

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum that aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

Australia is actively engaged in APEC. We lead and support initiatives that improve data and transparency, promote standards and regulations that facilitate trade and investment, and build capacity in the region.

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Sounds Australia growing the digital footprint of Australian music

Music listening is becoming a digital-first experience, with 89 per cent of people using on-demand streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify to listen to music. Editorial playlists, often curated by the music streaming services themselves, are increasingly influencing which songs become global hits. As are podcasts and new social and content sharing applications like TikTok.

Amid these trends, Sounds Australia is developing new strategies to ensure Australian artists are in the global spotlight.

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Sounds Australia