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PERISCOPE - Occasional Analysis Brief Series

PERISCOPE -Occasional Analysis Brief Vol. 8 2021: Australia confronts Geoeconomics

'Periscope' is the Occasional Analysis Paper/Brief series of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation's Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific. Just like the real-world sighting instrument, Periscope is meant as a lens to broaden our insights - taking in views from different angles. This way, it seeks to bring together perspectives from Germany, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region to augment our understanding of contemporary issues and help address the pressing problems of our time. The Periscope Series covers topics from the area of foreign and security policy, cybersecurity, terrorism/counter-terrorism, energy policy, rule of law, socio-economic matters and development policy. It comprises both longer Analysis Papers– in the form of single-author (and co-authored) contributions or edited volumes with multiple authors - and shorter Analysis Briefs.

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In June 2021, Australia's Trade Minister Dan Tehan, gave an address at a Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung event at Parliament House. The Minister highlighted the importance of the new Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) not only in terms of the bilateral economic relationship, but also on how Australia is seeking to diversify the breadth of its trade partnerships. Australia's next trade diplomacy objective - completing an FTA with the European Union - was outlnied in similar terms. These FTAs complement a suite of trade diversification policies that the Australian Government has rapidly launched over the last twelve months.

Why is trade diversification suddenly such a high priority for an open economy like Australia, which has successfully built economic partnerships with fast-growing Asian economies in recent years? The Minister indicated that strategic, as much as economic, factors were at play, arguing "The economies of the Indo-Pacific will shape the strategic environment, which is why Australia is diversifying its trade partnerships". In drawing the connection between economic interdependence and the potential strategic effects, the Minister was referring to 'geoeconomics' - a phenomenon increasingly driving Australia's foreign economic policy and outlook.


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About the Authors

Hayley Channer

Hayley is the Perth USAsia Centre's Senior Policy Fellow. She produces analysis on foreign and defence policy in the Indo-Pacific, engages with key Australian Government agencies and other policy stakeholders, and builds and sustains the Centre's domestic and international network. Hayley is a 2021 Fulbright Scholar and has previously worked for Australia's Minister for Defence, the Department of Defence, think thanks and not-for-profit sector.


Dr Jeffrey Wilson

Jeffrey is the Perth USAsia Centre's Research Director and specialises in the regional economic integration of the Indo-Pacific. He has a particular expertise in the politics of trade agreements, regional economic institutions, and Australia's economic ties with Asia. A political scientist by training, Dr Wilson's research has been recognised as a recipient of the University of Sydney Medal (2006) and the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence in Research Award (Murdoch, 2015).

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