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The world is in a state of flux. The intersection of globalisation and automation has many questioning policy orthodoxy in the search for equity. This manifests as challenges to, inter alia, free trade, the European Union, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organisation.
This is not a choice, however, between multilateralism or isolationism; between command economies or laissez faire capitalism. Trade history shows a pragmatic approach that blends the best of all elements, multilateral, plurilateral, and bilateral, delivers prosperity.
Steven Ciobo was sworn in as the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment on 19 July 2016.
This is Mr Ciobo’s third front bench role in the foreign affairs and trade portfolio. He has previously served as the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment. In these roles Mr Ciobo championed economic integration in the Pacific through private sector-led growth; promoted the benefits of Australia’s Free Trade Agreements; led delegations of industry leaders to our key trading partners; and supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in advancing Australia’s diplomatic interests overseas.
Mr Ciobo served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer from September 2013 to December 2014. During this time he made the ultimate assessment of Australia’s national interest on some 800 applications for foreign investment worth around AUD150 billion. He also served as an Alternate Governor to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Adopting a recommendation of the 2007 Inquiry into the current and future directions of Australia’s services export sector by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Mr Ciobo joined the Nelson Opposition frontbench as the Shadow Minister for the Service Economy. He subsequently served on the frontbench of the Turnbull and Abbott Oppositions, including in the small business and tourism portfolios.
Mr Ciobo was first elected as the Member for Moncrieff in the Australian Parliament in 2001. Before entering Parliament, Mr Ciobo built a professional career as an executive in the economic reform unit at international firms Coopers & Lybrand and, later, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from Bond University, as well as a Master of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology.