Julie Bishop - 2012 Annual APEC Lecture

Ms Bishop noted the key role APEC plays in promoting free trade and investment

The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, delivered the 2012 Annual APEC Lecture hosted by the Australian APEC Study Centre at RMIT University.

In her address, Ms Bishop noted the key role APEC plays in promoting free trade and investment, and economic integration amongst regional economies, stressing that APEC “is as important today as it was in 1989 when member economies first met in Canberra for an informal dialogue.’
Ms Bishop said that Asia’s re-emergence as an economic powerhouse presents significant economic opportunities and challenges for Australia, and noted that economic diplomacy will be the central plank of a future Coalition Government’s approach to managing those opportunities and challenges.
To that end: “The Coalition will review the operations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure that economic considerations, particularly support for Australian businesses, are given the attention they deserve with detailed qualitative and quantitative objectives in place … and ensure that our [Coalition] visa policies are coordinated with our economic policies.”
A future Coalition Government, if elected, will renew the pursuit of regional and bilateral free trade agreements with APEC economies, especially China. Ms Bishop stated the Coalition’s commitment to completing a FTA with China within its first year of government, if not already completed by then.
Ms Bishop also emphasised the importance of foreign investment in ensuring Australia’s economic prosperity, supported the role of FIRB and highlighted many of the issues raised in the Coalition’s discussion paper on foreign investment.
Citing recent studies showing a slowing of non-resource imports from Australia to Asia, Ms Bishop stressed on the need to raise Australia’s non-resource export performance, focusing on areas of strength in services, particularly in the export of educational services.
Referring to the enduring benefits of the Menzies ‘Colombo Plan’ to Australia’s relationships in the region, Bishop noted that a future Coalition Government will establish an exchange program encouraging Australian students to study overseas, especially in Asia – akin to a ‘reverse Colombo Plan.’

The 2012 Annual APEC Lecture was attended by distinguished guests from business, government and academia, included Ms Mary Warlick, US Consul General, and Ms Virgina Kalong, Philippines Consul General.

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RMIT University
Julie Bishop, Guest Speaker,