Parliamentary Secretary Steven Ciobo MP will represent Australia at the first Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) ministerial meeting on the blue economy, in Mauritius.

The Indian Ocean region is of growing strategic and economic importance to Australia. It includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies, has huge reserves of natural resources and half of the world’s container ships pass through its waters.

“The inaugural ministerial conference is a milestone,” Mr Ciobo said.  “The blue economy is central to economic growth and job creation in all the Indian Ocean States including Australia. However, exploiting the ocean’s resources needs to be done sustainably.  It requires scientific research and innovation, which happen to be Australia’s strengths.”  

Discussion at the conference will focus on bolstering economic growth through fisheries and aquaculture, renewable ocean energy, seaports and shipping, and seabed exploration and minerals. 

Ahead of the IORA conference Mr Ciobo will visit Thailand and Oman to meet with senior government representatives on key bilateral priorities.  

In Thailand Mr Ciobo will discuss updating the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) with Deputy Commerce Minister Suwit Mesinsee. Trade has doubled since the TAFTA entered into force in 2005, and investment has also grown impressively.

In Oman Mr Ciobo will meet with Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Engineer Ahmed bin Hassan Al Theeb. Mr Ciobo will encourage the resumption of free trade negotiations between Australia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Australia already has strong trade and investment relations with GCC countries.  An FTA would take the relationship to the next level.

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