Manufacturing News

Australia strengthens trade ties with Africa

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Hon. Anthony Byrne MP, opened the Australia Africa Business Council’s conference yesterday with a commitment to strengthening ties between the two nations.

Welcoming the Republic of South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Minister Shabangu, Byrne said the Rudd Government had significantly increased its support and engagement with the region and would continue to do so into the future.

“The role of Africans is now key in the resolution of some of the most complex challenges facing us — whether we are considering a solution to climate change, a better approach to food security, or the resolution of the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations, the engagement of Africa is vital,” Byrne said.

“Australia has committed to increasing our engagement with Africa across the board through strengthened political contacts, enhanced trade and commercial linkages, cooperation on peace and security, and increased development assistance.

“The mining industry in Africa is already mature, but there are many other fields where Australian business can add value.

“Australia has particular strengths in areas that will really help Africa to grow such as infrastructure projects, the automotive sector, education, building and improving food security.

“Our trade partnership with Africa is amongst the fastest growing regions for Australia and more than 300 Australian companies are active in at least 30 African countries. “

Two way trade with the continent reached $6.7bn in 2008. Over the last five years Australia’s trade with Africa has increased by 8.5 per cent per annum.

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