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New portal and roadshow to sell the benefits of FTAs

AusTrade will get $24.6 million for an engagement program to sell the value of this government’s free trade agreements.

The plans published in the 2015-16 federal budget papers include an online dashboard-portal and national seminar series to help businesses make informed decisions about trading internationally.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the seminar series would be a collaborative project undertaken by AusTrade and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. On budget night, Robb said:

“Reaching out to business to help make our FTAs more accessible is something governments over the years haven’t always done as well as they could have; the agreements our government has secured with three of our four biggest trading partners, offer too much promise to risk low utilisation.

“We plan to reach-out to thousands of businesspeople in all corners of the country over the coming weeks and months.”

The new portal will include a comprehensive tariff finder.

It appears to be modelled on the existing small business portal, business.org.au, which allows any prospective business owner to type in their postcode and immediately see all the local, state and federal regulations with which they have to comply. The Department of Industry and Science took home a gong from the IPAA’s excellence in public sector management awards last year for the efforts building that portal.

FTA kits will be made available for business chambers, industry groups, local councils and others to deliver their own FTA education activities.

Robb said the FTA outreach program will also include “enchanced help-desk support, a grants program and training, in addition to a promotional campaign.”

Read more federal budget coverage at The Mandarin: New digs, embassies and government office upgrades

Author Bio

Harley Dennett

Harley Dennett is editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's held communications roles in the New South Wales public sector and Defence, and been a staff reporter for newspapers in Sydney and Washington DC.