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The hidden resource agenda within Australia’s Asian free trade agreements

Wilson, J.D. (2012) The hidden resource agenda within Australia’s Asian free trade agreements. The Conversation, 4 October .

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With the emerging discourse on the ‘Asian Century’, it has become something of a national past-time in Australia to bemoan our lack of integration in the Asia-Pacific region. As the soon-to-be-released Asian Century white paper is sure to recommend, deepening Australia’s economic ties with the major countries in the region will be essential for Australia’s future prosperity.

But Australia can already boast considerable success in one dimension of this process – the negotiation of free trade agreements (FTAs) in the Asian region. Australia has already signed FTAs with Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the ASEAN, and is currently negotiating agreements with the three Northeast Asian ‘giants’ – China, Japan and Korea.

While these agreements have been lauded as critical tool to open Asian markets to trade and investment, for some of Australia’s Asian FTAs the agenda has gone beyond simple trade liberalisation.

For China, Japan and Korea, resource security is a key part of the FTA agenda, which for Australia poses significant questions over how these resource relationships can be managed.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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