The federal government is aiming to secure free trade agreements (FTA) with China, South Korea, and Japan within its first term of government.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb is currently in Jakarta ahead of the APEC summit in Bali. In an interview with The Australian, he said that he planned to meet with trade ministers from each of the three countries during the summit to discuss trade.
In addition, Rob said that the government was committed to helping the US conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade agreement among 12 countries by the end of this year.
In terms of the FTAs, China, South Korea, and Japan have all identified the creation of an independent tribunal overseen by the United Nations to adjudicate and award compensation if a government passes legislation that is deemed harmful to trade as an issue.
The coalition disagrees with the three nations but, according to Rob, is more open to a compromise than the previous government, which viewed it as non-negotiable.
South Korea's trade with Australia is worth $31.9 billion and the Rudd government began negotiations for the South Korean and Australian FTA in 2009.
Japan's trade with Australia worth $71.1bn a year and talks towards an Australia-Japan FTA began in 2007.
And most importantly, China’s trade with Australia is worth $125.2bn a year. Although talks towards an Australia-China FTA have been deadlocked since 2005, both nations have expressed interest in overcoming disagreements and securing an agreement.