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The Importance of International Trade to Australia's Security & Prosperity

01 Feb 2022
By The Hon Dan Tehan MP and Richard Iron CMG OBE

The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment in conversation with Richard Iron CMG OBE.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade reaching a record A$252 billion in 2019 and accounting for 27.4 percent of Australia’s trade with the world. This year, tensions between the two countries have risen as China continues to impose trade restrictions on Australian-sourced imports. According to Treasury estimates, sectors affected by Chinese trade restrictions lost $5.4 billion in exports to China during the first full year of sanctions, but by diversifying into other markets they simultaneously found $4.4 billion of new business elsewhere. Australia continues to negotiate free trade agreements (FTA) to support this diversification and to reduce and eliminate certain barriers to international trade and investment. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is a regional FTA that entered into force on 1 January 2022, building upon Australia’s existing free trade agreements with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries. An Australia-UK FTA was agreed in principle in June 2021, an Australia-EU FTA is under negotiation, and the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India is still being negotiated.

As the world starts to emerge from COVID, what are the prospects for the trade relationships between Australia, Asia, India and Europe? How might the current trade agreement architecture in the region change with a renewed Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)?

The Hon Dan Tehan MP is Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and was sworn in on 22 December 2020. 

Richard Iron CMG OBE is President of AIIA Victoria. He previously served in the British Army in Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Oman, the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Iraq. He was a visiting fellow at the Changing Character of War programme at the University of Oxford and was lead editor of British Generals in Blair’s Wars.

This is a recording of an event held by AIIA Victoria on 14 December 2021. To register for upcoming events, CLICK HERE.