Trade Minister Andrew Robb will ask his G20 counterparts to look to Australia’s economic record as he makes his case for a freer global trading system.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb will urge global counterparts to follow Australia’s lead in aggressively pursuing freer trade when he hosts a major G20 meeting this weekend.
The trade ministers of the 20 largest economies will gather in Sydney on Saturday to outline what steps each are taking to contribute to the group’s economic growth targets.
As president of the G20 this year, Australia is responsible for keeping that agenda on track and encouraging nations to stick to their pledge to boost their growth by two per cent.
Mr Robb feels Australia has some experience in this area and will be talking up its credentials.
Australia had embarked on its own reforms to open up its economy in the past quarter century, the result of which had been more than two decades of unbroken growth, Mr Robb said this week.
“There’s no one else in the G20 that’s had uninterrupted economic growth,” he said.
“So we’ve got a good story to tell, but we can improve it further.”
Trade and investment has slipped down the priority list at the G20 in recent years as the summit dealt with major financial crises.
But the Abbott government is keen to renew the focus, putting efforts to strengthen and liberalise the global trading system high on its G20 agenda.
Mr Robb will be seeking commitments from each G20 nation to taking unilateral steps to open up their respective economies in a bid to drive growth and create jobs.
He believes there’s a new appetite in many countries to pursue freer trade after a period marked by increased government spending in response to the GFC.
It’s a sentiment he plans to capitalise on when he encourages his trade partners to think ambitiously.
The goal is to walk away with a series of concrete proposals to take to the major G20 summit hosted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Brisbane in November.
Mr Abbott has stressed he doesn’t want the G20 to be a talkfest, and told business leaders this week actions speak louder than words.
It’s a mantra Mr Robb will keep at front of mind as he chairs this weekend’s meeting.
“The G20 is not a negotiating forum but a leadership forum and as chair, Australia intends to lead by example,” he said.