As Australia continues to be shunned by its most valuable trading partner China, Canberra is looking to boost trade deals with countries such as Iceland and Israel.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Monday that Aussie diplomats will start courting member nations of the European Free Trade Association - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland - plus Israel.
"New export and investment opportunities with EFTA countries has the potential to open up new doors for Australian farmers, businesses and investors," Senator Birmingham said, noting the talks could also help secure free trade deals with the UK and the EU.
Merchandise trade with Israel was worth $1.1 billion in 2019 and Australia should foster the relationship, he added.
"There is huge potential for growth in our trade relationship with Israel and this is the first step in formalising and strengthening that trade engagement.
"If ultimately realised, these agreements would secure Australia near-universal coverage of trade agreements across the democratic, advanced market economies of the OECD."
Australian produce including including wine, coal, barley and seafood have been subject to tariffs and restrictions upon entry to China.
The moves come amid diplomatic tensions over Australia's foreign interference and investment laws and calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.
"With one in five jobs reliant on trade, and recent trade disruptions with China changing the risk profile for some Australian businesses, it's crucial we continue to look to provide them with even more choices and markets to do business around the world," Senator Birmingham said.
Australian Associated Press