research / Journal publications

Australia–China trade: Opportunity, risk, mitigation, ballast – progress?

September 01 2023

Australia's discussion of trade with China has seen the frame of opportunity replaced with that of risk. Beijing's decision in 2020 to respond to political disputes with Canberra by disrupting Australian exports has energised calls to mitigate risk by deploying public policy with the objective of reducing trade with China. To date, the Australian government has largely resisted these calls. This chapter explains that businesses in the Australia-China trade corridor already have access to a host of economic and legal mitigations. These mitigations have meant that even in an environment of heightened geopolitical tension, trade has continued to deliver not only direct economic benefits, but also ballast to the broader relationship. Further, Australia and China have an alignment of interests in supporting regional and global trade architecture, presenting opportunities ripe for cooperation and to positively shape Australia's external environment. This is the most constructive focus for Australian public policy, not an unnecessary decoupling from China.

Read the book chapter online here.

Note: This book chapter was published in Engaging China: How Australia can lead the way again, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp 103-130.

Authors: James Laurenceson, Director, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney; Weihuan Zhou, Associate Professor and Director of Research, Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales.