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European Australian Business : 2008
foreword 12 The new Australian Government is dedicated to building a stronger trade and economic partnership with the European Union (EU). As part of this commitment both the Prime Minister and I visited Brussels early in the term of the new Government. The EU is important to Australia. As a single bloc, the EU has a population of 490 million and an economy worth around a quarter of global GDP. As the world’s largest single frontier market, there are many advantages in doing business with the EU: n it has a single point of entry for customs duty n being a fully integrated market enables borderless trade n t here are harmonised standards across the EU n the EU oversees trade and other economic policies, supported by the European Commission’s decision-making process. Over the past 13 years, the EU has been Australia’s largest two-way trading partner. An expanding and increasingly integrated EU is good for Australian exporters who can benefit from a larger market while remaining subject to a single set of trade rules. In 2006-07 the value of Australia’s total two-way trade in goods and services with the EU was $76.4 billion, an in- crease of 5 per cent from the previous year. Australia’s merchandise trade with the EU, worth 17 per cent of our total trade, is larger than with any other single market. Last year, Australia’s exports of goods and services reached $27.8 billion, while imports from the EU were close to $49 billion. Australia’s top exports include mineral resources, wine, edu- cation and tourism; we mainly import European manufactured goods such as medicines and cars. Australia and the EU are reliable investment partners. The EU is Aus- tralia’s biggest direct investor, worth over $107 billion. At $73.6 billion, the EU is the second largest destination for Australia’s direct investment abroad. Australian companies are active in Eu- ropean industries ranging from energy, transport, mining, waste recycling and medical products to information technology and engineering. Australia remains a very attractive place for EU investment. This underlines the deep economic bond between Australian and the EU. Our two economies are closely connected through trade and invest- ment. I would like to re-affirm the new Australian Government’s commitment to building a positive partnership with Europe and I wish the Australian-EU business communities every success in your endeavours. The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister For Trade The Hon Simon Crean MP