Australia: A post-pandemic trade revival
Interesting insights by Shadow Trade Minister Madeleine King from The Interpreter clearly outlining the needs to 'Improve Asia capabilities, Diversify export products & markets & Increase Trade Diplomacy'
Albert Einstein once said that “in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity”. For an open trading nation like Australia, the pandemic is an unparalleled crisis. The nation is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression, along with recessions in key trading partners, severe disruptions to global supply chains and a rising tide of protectionism around the world.
Australia needs visionary, long-term thinking if it is to emerge from this shock and set itself up for the decades ahead.
Here is my four-point plan for a post-pandemic trade revival.
Diversification of our export markets
Twenty years ago, China bought about 5% of Australia’s goods exports. That has risen to an all-time high of 48.8%, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released this month.
Against the wishes of the doomsayers and the fearmongers who would prefer economic disengagement, China is cushioning the brutal shock of this pandemic on Australia’s economy.
The benefits of this trading relationship over many years should be celebrated, but Australia should also seek to avoid exposure to economic shocks that can result from an over-reliance on any single market. Australia cannot snap its fingers and find a replacement for a huge market like China.
But it’s time the nation finally got serious about building better relationships with India and Indonesia, both of which are predicted to be among the world’s top four economies within 30 years.
Diversification is hard and will take decades to realise, but nothing will happen unless the Commonwealth government makes it a priority.
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