Businesses need to broaden trade with Asia

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australian exporters are being urged to look for new Asian markets to combat the economic fallout of coronavirus and strained relations with China.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan has released the final report of the Asia Taskforce – a joint project between the Asia Society and Business Council of Australia.

It provides a blueprint for Australia to compete more successfully in the region.

Mr Tehan said business and government needed to work together in order to keep trade with Asia moving.

“The Asia Taskforce does more than make the argument that businesses should expand into diverse markets across Asia,” he said on Wednesday.

”It advocates a ‘Team Australia’ approach and identifies practical, specific actions that business and governments can take to strengthen the presence of Australia, and our businesses, in Asia.”

The report proposes focusing on markets and sectors where Australia has competitive advantages, such as healthcare in Indonesia and financial services in Japan, as well as India, Vietnam and Korea.

However, it finds diversification cannot replace the need to adjust to Australia’s complex relationship with China.

Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott said the rise of Asian economies and their growing middle classes presented strong opportunities for Australian companies.

“But only if we grasp the opportunity,” Ms Westacott said.

“If we succeed, Australians will have the best standards of living in the world but if we fail, we run the risk of becoming a second order economy in a thriving region.”

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