Iron ore and Coal

Miners welcome trade diversification

Miners welcome trade diversification
Mining News Pro - The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed a call by the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth for the need to diversify Australia’s trade base to reduce reliance on any one market.

In its report `Pivot: Diversifying Australia’s Trade and Investment Profile`, the committee examined how the Australian government could support businesses to diversify trade markets and sources of foreign investment.

Committee chairperson George Christensen said that more than ever, it was important that Australia takes the opportunity to pivot towards new export markets and trade and investment opportunities, to support sustainable economic growth over the long term.

“The committee has recommended that the government develop a plan for trade diversification and examine options to expand domestic investment and production. These reforms will protect Australia from the risks of having too many eggs in one basket,” Christensen said.

“Diversifying the range of products and services that Australia exports, including through greater support for future-focused and innovative industries, will further ensure Australia is not overexposed to trade disruptions or shocks in any one export market.”

The committee made 21 recommendations, including developing and releasing a plan for trade diversification, and continuing to create trade opportunities through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, increasing industry awareness of national security and national interest risks related to trade and investors, investigating new options for increasing domestic funding for universities, increasing Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capacity and ensuring the country has adequate supply of key resources, greater support for the ‘industries of tomorrow’, and a clear and consistent definition of the national interest for foreign investment.

“Broadening our customer base will improve the security of demand for Australia’s industries, just as security of supply is vital for countries with which Australia trades,” MCA CEO Tania Constable said on Wednesday.

“In this context, it is important to note that Australia’s resources sector is not overexposed to China. For example, when iron-ore is excluded from our trading profile, China only represents 15% of Australian resource exports.

“Australia’s resources sector is also assertive in expanding trade with our long-standing partners across Asia, Europe and North America while seeking out and establishing new markets, particularly with ASEAN countries,” Constable said.

She pointed out that Australia also exports a wide array of commodities including the metals and minerals which are propelling global decarbonisation.

“The development of trade requires a deep and broad understanding by governments of industry and economic policies which can guide and support opportunities in trade, investment and cooperation,” she added.

The MCA has been a long-term advocate for free trade and trade expansion and diversification through trade and investment agreements which can help build and maintain strong and enduring government-to-government connections.

“Challenges to global and multilateral trade regimes in recent years highlight major shifts in the global strategic, political and economic environment, changes which have been accelerated by Covid-19 and present both risks and opportunities to industries and exporting businesses in Australia,” said Constable.

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