Australia and the Belt and Road Initiative: An overview
There was only one direct mention of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper, released on November 23, and it signalled the Australian Government would continue its cautious approach toward the initiative.
Media coverage of Chinese students in Australia
Chinese students in Australia have been a focus of media attention in 2017.
In recent months we’ve seen denunciations of Australian university lecturers who have offended Beijing’s patriotic sensibilities.
Racial chauvinism is only one of the challenges that Beijing is exporting to universities.1
Chinese students at universities in Australia have their professors walking on eggshells.
China in Australia's Foreign Policy White Paper
On November 23 Australia released its first Foreign Policy White Paper in 14 years. Developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the 2017 paper enjoys broad bipartisan support. Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong, writing in The Australian, stated:
Chinese ownership of Australian agricultural land
1. Total foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land in terms of area (hectares) fell from 14.1 percent at June 30 2016 to 13.6 percent at June 30 2017.
2. More than 99 percent of agricultural businesses nationwide are wholly Australian-owned. Wholly Australian-owned businesses also control 87 percent of agricultural water entitlements.
Australia's exposure to a Chinese economic hard landing
The cause of a Chinese hard landing could be external, such as a trade war launched by the Trump Administration. Alternatively it could be internal, such as a debt meltdown in the shadow banking system. In April a Deloitte report provided detailed insights around a scenario in which China’s GDP growth slowed from a targeted 6.5 percent this year to less than three percent. Even with the Australian dollar depreciating and the Reserve Bank of Australia cutting interest rates, the forecasts remain sobering.
Recent Opposition statements on China
In July the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) reported on an apparent tilt in the China policy of Canberra, reflected in speeches by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (see ACRI fact sheet ‘Australia’s tilt on China). Recently, however, the opposition Labor Party appears to be differentiating itself on China policy. This is reflected in three recent speeches by Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.
The NSW-China Economic Relationship
1. Over the past year the value of NSW goods exports to China is $7.0 billion. This is a record high. China accounts for 16.7 percent of NSW total goods exports, and is:
- 0.7 times that to Japan;
- 2.1 times that to Korea; and
- 2.8 times that to the US.
2. The annual value of NSW goods exports to China increased by $1.3 billion in the past five years. During the same period NSW goods exports to:
- Japan fell by $448.3 million;
- Korea fell by $451.8 million; and
Australia's tilt on China
On January 26, in a speech to the US-Australia Dialogue on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in Los Angeles, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop supported a position where China’s rise is balanced by an expanded US role in the Indo-Pacific region:
Australian attitudes towards China and the United States
Last updated June 26 2017.
Despite recent negative publicity in the media, three polls provide evidence of a generally positive view of Australians to China. The polls were undertaken by the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney; the Lowy Institute for International Policy; and global marketing and opinion research company Ipsos. The three polls also enable comparisons with our attitudes towards the United States.
Australia’s economic relationship with China and India: A snapshot
Between 2011–2015, China and India accounted for an average of 35.5 percent and 11.9 percent of world GDP growth, respectively.
In 2015-16 China was the number one customer for Australia’s goods worth $75.3 billion, accounting for 30.9 percent of total Australian goods exports. India bought $9.7 billion and ranked fifth, accounting for four percent of the total.