This week I will be travelling to the United States to meet with a range of US business and state government leaders to exchange views on tax reform, energy and innovation.
Australia and the US have a close economic and strategic relationship. This relationship is built on a strong foundation of business and person-to-person links, as highlighted in the Foreign Policy White Paper.
The US is our largest investment partner, with two-way investment stock reaching $1.5 trillion in 2016, and our second largest two-way trading partner, with trade valued at $64 billion.
My program will include high-level meetings with representatives of leading Silicon Valley tech companies including Google and Seattle-based Amazon, which recently launched its major Australian operation.
I will also meet with representatives of large firms with significant investments in Australia including Boeing, whose operations here represent its largest footprint outside of the US.
I will travel to Texas for a meeting with Governor Greg Abbott who leads the second largest state economy in the US which is also a significant destination for Australian investment. My Texas schedule will include meetings with representatives of major energy companies including Exxon Mobil as well as with financial leaders.
My visit will contribute to sustaining the strong links between our two nations and provide the opportunity gain crucial insights into issues that are of significance to every Australian.
The most significant reform to the US tax system in decades was passed by Congress in December 2017, including a substantial reduction in the federal corporate tax rate – from 35 to 21 per cent.
The US tax reforms highlight the importance of the Turnbull Government’s Enterprise Tax Plan to reduce Australia’s corporate tax rate and maintain international competitiveness.
During my visit, I will explore the impact of US corporate tax changes on companies’ operations, particularly employee wages, their investment and innovation decisions and hiring intentions.
The US and Australian energy markets are both in a period of substantial transition. During this period, we, like the US, are faced with the challenge of ensuring reliability and affordability in the energy market, while also meeting our international commitments to lower emissions.
During the visit, I will meet with several companies and regulatory agencies to assess policies to address these challenges. My visit will also provide an opportunity to consider how new technologies can help to reduce cost of living pressures and improve reliability.
Innovation is critical for Australia to deliver new sources of growth, generate high-wage jobs and increase investment opportunities. We are well-placed to take advantage of these opportunities but there are areas for improvement, especially when it comes to collaboration between businesses and researchers.
The US has a strong innovation culture and ecosystem. Australia and the US already share strong innovation links, and we stand to learn from each other’s strengths.
My meetings with major technology firms and researchers in Silicon Valley will provide an invaluable opportunity to examine how the US, a country considered to be at the forefront of innovation globally, created an environment that provides incentives and rewards for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurial risk.
I will also meet with a group of early stage investors and entrepreneurs to explore how the Australian Government can continue to support Australian FinTech firms to better access overseas investors in the US market.
My visit provides an opportunity to expand innovation links under the US Administration.