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G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy

7 June 2019

Joint media release with the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews will attend the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and the Digital Economy in Tsukuba, Japan on 8 and 9 June 2019.

Minister Birmingham said the G20 plays a vital role in safeguarding the global rules-based trading system and the institutions that uphold it, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“There is no doubt the WTO is facing significant challenges at a time of heightened trade tensions across the world,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We want to work through the G20 process and with likeminded countries to update the WTO rulebook and to make the WTO operate more effectively.

“This is a major opportunity for G20 Trade Ministers to lend active support to the WTO reform process and advocate for concrete solutions for reform in advance of the next WTO Ministerial Conference in June 2020.

“I expect discussions will centre on how to enhance the WTO dispute settlement system, finalising work to control fisheries subsidies and intensifying efforts on services domestic regulation.

“Japan remains one of Australia’s most like-minded strategic partners in the region and we share a key economic, trade and investment relationship.

“A joint trade and digital economy session will be a major opportunity to work in leadership with partners like Japan and Singapore to continue to progress new WTO rules on e-commerce that keep pace with the modern trading system, and that benefit Australian businesses.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said improving the balance between regulation and innovation in the digital economy is a focal point at the G20.

“Building human-centred artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key theme of the meeting,” Minister Andrews said.

“AI tools must be considered from the perspective of humans that make and use these systems, and governments need to work together on ethical, regulatory and policy issues.

“Discussions will also focus on digital economy issues, such as the free flow of data, digital security and governance innovation.

“It is essential that Australia is at the cutting edge of digital development, so this opens up more trade opportunities and creates jobs.” 

“Japan and Australia are building on our historical strengths in manufacturing and resources to partner in new industries such as the hydrogen economy and smart cities.”

While in Japan, both Ministers will also meet with a range of business leaders and organisations as part of a bilateral program.

Media contacts:

Minister Birmingham's office 02 6277 7420

Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070