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Business welcomes White Paper focus on resisting global protectionism

"The Federal Government's Foreign Policy White Paper gives a welcome signal that Australia will increase efforts to resist world-wide protectionism and trade barriers," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"Support for globalisation cannot be taken for granted and our commitment to an open economy must extend to ensuring that the markets in which our companies trade follow the same rules-based system. Australia's participation in WTO disputes is low in comparison with similar sized economies and Ai Group welcomes the Government's commitment to being an engaged player within the WTO and other multilateral standards setting bodies.

"Digital technology has revolutionised modern trade and the products and services that we are able to sell to the world. Unfortunately, our multilateral rules bodies have not kept up with the changes to the digital landscape, particularly when faced with protectionist barriers and the setting of standards.

"As Australian industry increases its footprint and export focus, our businesses regularly face the threat of malicious actors using the power of the internet in commercial and strategic attacks. The strategies outlined in the White Paper to promote an open and connected digital economy that supports Australia's future competitiveness is balanced with the need to provide Australians with a secure cyberspace that will create the right environment for Australian businesses to take full advantage of digital technologies.

"As a mid-sized economy Australia needs a comprehensive engagement strategy with the world to build economic and security alliances and to work towards a positive global environment that supports the efforts of our businesses and citizens as they operate in a dynamic and connected world. The basic building block of this engagement is the image that 'Team Australia' presents to the world and we are pleased to see that the Government has committed in the White Paper to developing a stronger national brand.

"Ai Group agrees with the White Paper's assessment of the power and significance of the East Asia Summit as a regional forum. Ai Group has been actively involved in the East Asia Business Council for a number of years to ensure that Australian business has had a voice in the fastest growing region of the world.

"We were pleased to be able to contribute to the White Paper process on behalf of industry and the Foreign Minister and her Department should be congratulated for the positive and consultative approach taken in preparation of the White Paper," Mr Willox said.

Read Ai Group's submission to the 2017 DFAT White Paper

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Tony Melville – 0419 190 347