Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Soft Power Review | October 2019

The Australian Chamber welcomes the government’s efforts to review Australia’s unique soft power strengths and capabilities, delivering upon a commitment established in the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

The Australian Chamber and its member organisations believe there are many opportunities for the promotion and influence of Australian ideas and practices in the global community. As Australia’s leading voice for business and employers, the Australian Chamber is a unique member of the International Chamber of Commerce; [email protected]; International Organisation of Employers; Confederation of Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce. These platforms allow for Australian business to engage in global rulemaking in the intergovernmental bodies such as World Trade Organisation, the World Customs Organisation; the United nations, the International Labour Organisation, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation, etc.

The Australian Chamber, and Chambers of Commerce around the world, provide an essential service in acting on behalf of national Governments in efforts to simplify and harmonise customs procedures under the “badge of Government” authorisation related to the economic nationality of goods for the purposes of international trade. This essential service assists companies with international border crossing and should not be undermined. The Indian Ocean Rim Association has provided a platform for the Australian government to promote the empowerment of women and girls in the international trade facilitation. The Australian Chamber is uniquely positioned to deliver an ongoing IORA-related Women’s Empowerment Initiative.

As the review into ‘Brand Australia’ continues, the Australian Chamber recommends that the government endorse the Australian Made, Australian Grown as the common brand and symbol. Additionally, Australia’s soft power is enables through the hosting of major international events. As such the Australian Chamber recommends that the government embrace the opportunity to position Australia as a host nation for these events. The Australian Chamber also recognises the impact that international students and international education programs can have when promoting Australian practices and culture, and recommends that education strategies be incorporated into our broader foreign policy. Finally, the Australian Chamber recommends that the government promote Australia as a diverse tourist destination, so as to spread Australian culture and values around the globe.

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