TRADE minister Simon Birmingham has welcomed France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian to Adelaide for the inaugural Australia-France Trade and Investment Dialogue.
Mr Simon Birmingham said it was significant the meeting took place in Adelaide and highlighted the strong connection South Australia has with France.
“South Australia is a key pillar of our bilateral relationship with France as home to the partnership that will build the French designed Attack Class Submarines, which will provide our navy with effective capability for decades to come and generate thousands of skilled Australian jobs,” said Minister Birmingham.
“Australia and France already share a significant trade and economic relationship, with two-way trade valued at $9.9bn in 2017-18.
“Nearly 70,000 Australians are estimated to be employed by 600 French companies operating in Australia, highlighting the important investment ties between our two nations.”
Discussions at the Dialogue focused on benefits that can be generated by finalising a comprehensive and ambitious Australia European Union Free Trade Agreement.
“Ensuring a high quality trade deal with the EU will further strengthen our relationship and signals our shared commitment to an open, rules-based trading environment,” Mr Birmingham said.
“We also discussed the opportunity to enhance bilateral cooperation in key sectors, including infrastructure investments in the Pacific, critical minerals, fintech and the new hydrogen economy.
“I look forward to meeting Minister Le Drian again in France next year to continue to build on the 2018 Australia France Joint Vision Statement and the Australia-France Initiative that underpins Australia’s close partnership with France.”