This week I will travel to Switzerland and Italy to strengthen Australia’s trade partnerships and advance Australia’s trade and investment interests.
In Switzerland, I will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting where I will engage with ministerial counterparts and global business leaders. I will use the opportunity to promote Australia as an attractive investment destination and discuss action required to address a range of economic, geopolitical and environmental challenges. A key focus will be highlighting Australia’s emerging role as a renewable energy superpower to assist the transition of the global economy to net-zero emissions.
I will also advance Australia’s priorities at the World Trade Organization (WTO), including progressing reforms to ensure the multilateral trading system is relevant, active and effective.
Reforming the WTO dispute settlement system is a key priority; as is addressing the ballooning amount of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies provided by major economies. I look forward to joining Ottawa Group Ministers in Davos to discuss these critical reforms.
In Italy, I will meet with the newly elected Meloni Government to discuss the strengthening of our bilateral trade relationship. In 2021, two-way goods and services trade between Australia and Italy was valued at AUD 8.9 billion, making Italy our 17th largest trading partner.
I will advocate for the conclusion of negotiations for an ambitious and comprehensive Australia-European Union (EU) trade agreement. An Australia-EU trade agreement will provide more opportunities for Australian businesses to diversify trade relations and support greater investment in Australia, including in the renewable energy sector.
While in Rome, I will engage with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to discuss rising levels of global food insecurity and the importance of international trade and reforms to the agriculture sector.
My visit will reinforce the Australian Government’s support to our friends and partners in Europe as they continue to face challenges associated with Russia’s illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.