Sky News Regional, Newsday

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: UK and India free trade agreements; Australia-China trade relationship; Industrial relations reforms; Repatriation from Syrian camps.

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Ashleigh Gillon, Host: Welcome back, you’re with NewsDay. New free trade agreements with the UK and India are expected to deliver more jobs domestically.

Joining us live is the Assistant Trade and Manufacturing Minister, Tim Ayres. Appreciate your time, thank you. Can these new agreements really make up for much of the trade opportunities we’ve lost with China in recent years, do you think?

Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing: Well, it’s absolutely vital that we continue to work our way through these kinds of agreements. Both these agreements make a really positive contribution. You know, the UK agreement means that more than 95 per cent of goods move backwards and forwards tariff free. The India agreement, you know, it’s a first wave agreement; there’s still much more work to be done in the second round India negotiations, but 90 per cent of goods and services are tariff free. There’s a lot more work to do in the next round of India discussions to turn that into a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement.

The Trade Minister Don Farrell said last week – and he is dead right – you know, we have had – there is no room for complacency here, Ash. We have to diversify our trade markets and we have to diversify Australia’s product offering to the world.

Gillon: Have we seen any real signs yet that China is preparing to end trade sanctions with Australia following those seemingly successful talks with between Prime Minister Albanese and Xi last week at the G20? Has there been any follow-up that you’re aware of on a practical level to those talks? What sort of timeline do you think we could be looking at there?

Assistant Minister: Well, I’m not sure about timelines. I just say that dialogue is a good thing. It’s a good thing that dialogue has resumed. And, you know, we’ve said as a government from the outset that, you know, the government will take a calm and considered approach to these issues in the region and around the world, that we’ll continue to advocate for Australia’s national interest, and we’ll do that in a consistent way. Really, this – these trade sanctions should never have been applied in the first place. The sort of second – you know, the first best time for them to be withdrawn is yesterday and the second best time is tomorrow. But that is a matter for China. And we will just continue to work methodically and carefully in the way that we have been.

Gillon: All right. Sounds like we need to keep watching that space...

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