Trade in education is now a leading export for Australia. It has been a quite remarkable creation of the higher education sector largely within the last two decades. International education is important also for cultural and intrinsic educational benefits and for underpinning "soft diplomacy" for Australia in its international engagement.
In facilitating these benefits, Universities Australia points to the following aspects of the FTA process:
- Universities Australia supports the Australian Government's efforts in multilateral trade negotiation, but equally plans to continue in its engagement with DFAT on specific FTA negotiations
- Universities Australia also will work on addressing related issues with in-country partners such as sister organisations, embassy contacts in Australia and AEI counsellors and Austrade representatives offshore
- The role of Universities Australia has to date been outside of the actual FTA negotiations. But whether there is a level playing field in this and related matters is under examination
- Universities Australia can continue to assist government by providing an accurate understanding of what are the barriers to trade in education, and to keep our membership informed of activity and progress as it occurs and to encourage sectoral representation in these and related processes.
Naturally, individual universities, other higher education groups and the many individual academics who research in trade matters will also contribute in their own ways to the progress of bilateral and regional trade agreements in enhancing Australian living standards and wider well-being., with due allowance for the potential gains relative to effort, cost and focus on these activities.
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