Sunshine Coast businesses turned out in force for a free trade agreement seminar hosted by Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt in Mooloolaba today. ​

"It was great to see so many local firms participating, particularly small and medium-sized operations," Mr Pitt said.

"This was a terrific platform to answer their questions and provide practical information about our free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea."

Kylie Watson, CEO of successful Sunshine Coast exporter Nutworks, spoke about her company’s experience following the reduction in Chinese tariffs on Australian macadamias, mandated under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

"There has definitely been an increase in demand for Australian macadamia products in China, and if we didn’t have the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement the costs would make it impossible to compete with other countries," Ms Watson said.

The Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, and the Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien, also participated in today’s event.

"The Coast is the small business capital of the nation and with our proximity to Brisbane, we are well placed to take advantage of new overseas markets," Mr Wallace said.

"The more we can support local businesses realise their full export potential, the stronger our local economy will be."

Mr O’Brien said the Sunshine Coast businesses embodied Australia’s clean, green and healthy image.

"Our high-value growth industries of the future include tourism, education, agriculture and health and these are all sectors covered in the FTAs," Mr O’Brien said.

"I’m confident the local companies who attended today’s seminar now know they are not alone in pursuing export opportunities. They can leverage our existing Austrade network and there are also export development grants available."

Today’s seminar is the latest tool from the Coalition Government to help Sunshine Coast businesses take advantage of free trade agreements secured by the Coalition, creating local jobs and economic growth.

Further information for business about Australia’s new Free Trade Agreements is available at openforbusiness.gov.au, toolkit.fta.gov.au, ftaportal.dfat.gov.au and the Austrade and DFAT websites.

Keith Pitt at sminar

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment the Hon. Keith Pitt, Nutworks CEO Kylie Watson, Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace MP and Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien MP at today’s FTA seminar at Mooloolaba.

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